Nations In Transition


by Patrick Appel

A reader writes:

Your reader claims that "Recently transitioned democracies are ten times more likely to engage in war than are stable autocracies for the first ten years - Mansfield and Snyder, "Democratization and War."

That's not even close to what Mansfield and Snyder find. According to their study, the likelihood for recently transitioned democracies to engage in war is about 60% higher than for autocracies. Since all the articles are behind paywalls, I've attached the key graph from their 1995 Foreign Affairs article.

(Their findings and methodology are - still - hotly contested in political science and much weaker for larger interstate wars, but that's a different story). I'm sorry to be nit-picking, but since the reader wants to claim the authority of political scientists for her/his argument, I find it bothersome that s/he is off about what they're saying by several orders of magnitude.