Time to fight: Government type and conflict initiation in parliamentary systems

Michael J. Ireland, Scott Sigmund Gartner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Democratic peace arguments make compelling claims about the importance of regime type for explaining conflict but do not explain the variation in conflict propensity among states that share a common regime type. The authors develop a veto-player approach to capture the effects of executive constraint and argue that in parliamentary democracies, cabinet structure and allies influence states' conflict behavior. A hazard analysis is used to examine the time before a government's first initiation of force in 569 cabinets in 18 countries from the end of World War I to 1990 (N = 25,238 cabinet months). Results show that minority governments have a smaller hazard for initiating a conflict than either coalition or majority cabinets. However, the likelihood of conflict initiation for coalition and majority cabinets is the same. States with allies are less likely to initiate force. Across states of relatively uniform political culture, institutional measures of constraint effectively predict variation in conflict behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-568
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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