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Democratisation and Inter-State War: Why Reform does not Encourage Conflict

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Abstract

The ‘democratic peace theory’ argues that democratic states do not initiate war against one another and that democratic institutions discourage that initiation of international conflict. In general, this theory has mostly been applied to existing liberal democracies. However, the peaceful nature of the process of democratisation is far less evident. Some scholars argue that the instability of democratic transitions increases the likelihood that democratising states will initiate international conflict, making the democratic peace theory less valuable in its explanatory power. This article, however, argues that democratising states, as opposed to authoritarian states exhibiting a brief period of liberalisation, are inherently less prone to periods of international conflict.

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