[gov3009-l] Spirling on "Power and Polity: A New Look at Democratic Effectiveness"

Matt Blackwell mblackwell at iq.harvard.edu
Mon Apr 12 13:31:04 EDT 2010


We hope you will join us this Wednesday, April 14th at the Applied
Statistics workshop when we will be happy to have Arthur Spirling from
the Department of Government. Details and an abstract are below. A
light lunch will be served. Thanks!

"Power and Polity: A New Look at Democratic Effectiveness" (with
Jonathan Renshon)
Arthur Spirling
Government Department
April 14th, 2010, 12 noon
K354 CGIS Knafel (1737 Cambridge St)

We consider the link between democracy and war outcomes, which has
been the subject of lively and long-standing debate. We contend that
prior work has been hampered by data choice, research design and
statistical approach. Building on previous efforts, we introduce a
newly extended Bradley-Terry (BT) model that is well-suited for the
question at hand: what factors help states win wars and militarized
disputes? In addition to the methodological innovations detailed here,
we present important new substantive findings that clarify and extend
our understanding of the link between regime type and military
effectiveness. Our approach allows more precision as regards the
effects of democracy in waging and winning wars.  We identify a number
of other factors that significantly impact the odds of victory (e.g.
the 'initiation effect'). Subsequently, we use the MID dataset to
extend the scope of investigation and show that democracies are more
likely than other regime types to prevail in disputes that fall short
of war. In doing so, we demonstrate that the 'democratic advantage'
operates in conflicts at every level of intensity and not in
high-stakes wars alone, as previously believed.

A copy of the paper is available upon request from Arthur:
aspirling at gov.harvard.edu


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