Representative decision-making: challenges to democratic peace theory

Esra Cuhadar*, Daniel Druckman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


An attempt is made in this chapter to evaluate hypotheses derived from democratic peace theory. The key tenet of this theory is that democratic nations do not go to war with other democracies. Thus, regime type drives decisions to pursue war. The research to date has focused attention on regime type. This study expands this focus by examining the influences of a variety of variables on decisions made by role players to mobilize for war. In addition to own and other’s regime type, we include motivational, readiness, and identity variables. Further, the study examines two types of decisions: response to threats of violence and response to a humanitarian crisis in another country. The results show that the other’s regime motivates decisions to go to war when that nation is autocratic. However, that decision is contingent on the severity of the threat and the spread of public support for the action. The other’s regime type is not a source of decisions to act in humanitarian crises. The key factor in that situation is spread of support for the action. Interestingly, one’s own regime type (democracy) is the most important influence on both types of decisions when the other nation is democratic. These findings expand and refine democratic peace theory as well as provide a basis for further research.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of international negotiation
Subtitle of host publicationinterpersonal, intercultural, and diplomatic perspectives
EditorsMauro Galluccio
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer, Springer Nature
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9783319106878
ISBN (Print)9783319106861
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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