The joint democracy-dyadic conflict nexus: A simultaneous equations model Academic Article uri icon


  • Many statistical studies in international relations investigate the claim that democracies do not fight one another. Virtually all of these studies employ a single-equation design, where the dependent variable measures the presence of absence of a dyadic militarized interstate dispute (MID). A separate group of studies argues that conflict affects democracy and that its efffect could be positive or negative. By and large, these two bodies of literature have not incorporated one another's insights. We argue that democracy and dyadic conflict affect each other significantly and that statistical models that ignore the reciprocal nature of these effects may make incorrect inferences. To test this argument, we develop a simultaneous equations model of democracy and dyadic conflict. Our sample includes all the politically relevant dyads from 1950 to 1992. We find that dyadic military disputes reduce joint democracy and joint democracy reduces the probability of MIDs. Compared with the single-equation estimates in the literature, the absolute effect of joint democracy in our paper is smaller while in relative terms, the effect is similar in size. The effect of joint democracy on MID involvement is considerably smaller for noncontiguous countries than for contiguous ones. The effects of a number of control variables in the MID equation are also found to differ from those reported previously in single-equation-based studies.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Reuveny, R., & Li, Q.

citation count

  • 36

complete list of authors

  • Reuveny, R||Li, Q

publication date

  • September 2003