Ray, James Lee. (2013) War on Democratic Peace. International Studies Quarterly, doi: 10.1111/isqu.12029
© 2013 International Studies Association
Gartzke and Weisiger emphasize the pacifying impact of regime similarity. But the logic of their argument makes it seem unlikely that shared autocracy and democracy have equal pacifying impacts, because autocracies are so much more diverse. Regime similarity is in any case a problematic control variable. Since joint democracy and regime similarity are related by definition, any confounding impact regime similarity appears to have is produced in part by conceptual overlap rather than by a causal connection. Finally, even democratic states with diverse preferences might maintain peaceful relationships, because of their ability to make credible commitments and their respect for each other’s determination or prowess as war fighters. Mousseau claims that contract intensity confounds the relationship between democracy and peace, but to the extent that democracy makes contract intensity more likely, contract intensity cannot be a confounding variable. Data on life insurance in force before 1940 suggest that contract-intensive states fought each other in World Wars I and II. Mousseau claims that contract intensity creates pacifying economic interdependence. But life insurance contracts provide unnecessarily limited information regarding the interactions among states that lead to interdependence. In short, neither of these articles creates serious doubts about the pacifying impact of shared democracy.