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date: 22 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article considers the importance of disagreement between citizens within the nation over the provision of public goods, aside from security against external threats, focusing specifically on how democratic political institutions matter in the emergence of interstate war versus peace. The discussion highlights, where there is disagreement within a nation, the influence of electoral uncertainty to increase the extent to which the nation's leaders discount the future, including the future benefits of arming and initiating war or entering into a peaceful settlement. At the same time, it highlights the effects of checks and balances, associated with democratic institutions, to enhance the ability of leaders to mobilize resources. Although democratic peace is a possibility, it does not necessarily follow.

Keywords: external threats, public goods, democratic political institutions, interstate war, democratic peace

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