The Liberal Peace and Conflictive Interactions: The Onset of Militarized Interstate Disputes, 1950-78
Jungblut, Bernadette M.
Stoll, Richard J.
Over the past few years, there has been an increasing focus on the connection at the dyadic level between democracy, interdependence, and international conflict. This has led to some contention, with scholars taking different positions on both substantive and methodological matters. This article seeks to advance this literature by building explicitly on the work of Oneal & Russett. It adds an additional facet to this literature: exploring the impact of conflictive interactions on the chances of a dyad experiencing conflict. A conflictive interaction is the presence of a conflict below the level at which military force is used. The question is whether the issue at stake in a conflictive interaction influences the chances of the dyad experiencing a militarized interstate dispute (MID). The scope of the research is all dyads from 1950 to 1978, with observations at the quarter-year. Results are generally consistent with Oneal & Russett. However, there are several differences. First, the effect of joint democracy, while negative, is not statistically significant (this may be an artifact of our research design). Second, the coefficient for the higher trade-to-GDP ratio, while positive as in their work, is statistically significant here. But trade does reduce conflict (as embodied in the lower trade-to-GDP ratio) even when including the ‘peaceyears’ correction for temporal dependence. As for the impact of issue area, conflictive interactions involving issues of ‘high politics’ increase the chances of a dispute. Thus, elements of both ‘high politics’ and the liberal peace have independent impacts on the chances of an MID outbreak.