Author Biography

Steve Dobransky is an Adjunct Professor at Cleveland State University and Lakeland College. He is completing his Ph.D. at Kent State University and is ABD. He has an M.A. from Ohio University and a B.A. from Cleveland State University. He majors in International Relations and Justice Studies. Contact: sdobrans@kent.edu.



Subject Area Keywords

Democracy and democatization, International relations, Military affairs, Peace studies, Security policy, War studies


Democracies are perceived often by the public as relatively docile and not suited best for wars. This paper challenges this perception by analyzing the relationship between regime type and war outcomes. It builds upon David Lake’s 1992 model in “Powerful Pacifists: Democratic States and War” by updating it to the present period. It examines the empirical evidence and scholarly debate in order to test and elaborate on the argument that democratic states in the modern era are more prone to fighting and winning wars. This paper, furthermore, adds a number of new variables to the Lake model to analyze the possibility that more factors are needed in the equation to better understand regime type and war outcomes. This research finds that regime type and alliances are significant variables in winning wars and that democracies win the large majority (84%) of wars that they are involved in. The paper concludes with recommendations for further research.