The cart and the horse Redux: The timing of border settlement and joint democracy

Andrew P. Owsiak, John A. Vasquez

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Do democratic dyads handle their disputes more peacefully than non-democratic dyads, or have they cleared the most contentious issues (that is, unsettled borders) off their foreign policy agenda before becoming democratic? This study compares the conflicting answers of the democratic peace and the territorial peace and examines the empirical record to see which is more accurate. It finds that almost all contiguous dyads settle their borders before they become joint democracies. Furthermore, the majority of non-contiguous dyad members also settle their borders with all neighboring states before their non-contiguous dyad becomes jointly democratic. Such findings are consistent with the theoretical expectations of the territorial peace, rather than the democratic peace. They also weaken a core argument of the democratic peace, for this analysis finds that one reason democratic dyads may handle their disputes more peacefully than non-democratic dyads is not because of their institutions or norms, but rather because they have dispensed with the disputes most likely to involve the use of military force prior to becoming democratic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-354
Number of pages16
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • democratic peace
  • interstate conflict
  • territorial peace
  • territory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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