Contiguous States, Stable Borders, and the Peace between Democracies


  • Douglas M. Gibler

    1. University of Alabama
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    • Author's notes: Professor and Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Fellow, Department of Political Science, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL; I thank the editors of International Studies Quarterly for letting me provide this response. I also thank Alex Braithwaite, David Carter, Marc Hutchison, Steve Miller, Andy Oswiak, Jaroslav Tir, John Vasquez, and Thorin Wright, for comments on an earlier draft of this response. Any remaining errors are my own.

  • Douglas M. Gibler is Professor of Political Science and Arts and Sciences Leadership Board Fellow at the University of Alabama.


Park and Colaresi find that border stability does not apply to non-contiguous states. This just confirms, again, an argument I have been making in numerous publications since my original “Bordering on Peace” article. Nevertheless, I use this response to present a replication of my original argument, as it applies to contiguous states, and I find strong support for the contention that the democratic peace can better be understood as a stable border peace. I also discuss several different replications of the original argument using different proxies for stable borders. Each confirms that joint democracy is not a statistically significant predictor of conflict once stable borders are also included in the model. In sum, arguments from the territorial peace have been confirmed in multiple analyses, with multiple data sets, using multiple levels of analysis, and this renders Park and Colaresi's attack on the original “Bordering on Peace” a non sequitur in the debate over stable borders as an explanation of democracy and peace.