The declining advantages of democracy: A combined model of war outcomes and duration

D. Scott Bennett, Allan C. Stam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


The authors estimate a dynamic model to assess the effects of democracy on war outcomes and how these effects vary over time. Using quantitative data drawn from interstate wars between 1816 and 1990, the authors demonstrate that the wartime advantages that accrue to democratic states are fleeting. In the short run, democracies are more likely to win than are their autocratic opponents. However, although they are at an apparent disadvantage in short wars, autocracies are far less likely to quit as time passes. This willingness to continue fighting ultimately leads to the result that after roughly 18 months have passed, the advantage passes to the autocrat. Democracies at that point become far more likely than autocratic states to quit and more willing to settle for draws or losses. The authors also find that relationships between war outcomes and a number of control variables such as military-industrial capacity and military strategy vary over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)344-366
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business, Management and Accounting(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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