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Don’t make war, make elections

Democracy and conflict: a hard question

Civil conflict is one of the major threats to long-run economic development, and causes enormous human suffering. However, we still do not have a clear understanding of the factors that exacerbate or help mitigate the risk of conflict and, in particular, about the role of democracy in shaping violence.

In many theories democracy and conflict are interrelated, but testing the effect of democracy or democratic transitions on conflict is extremely challenging. On the one hand, democracy is a difficult concept to define and measure. On the other, there are many factors in society that may simultaneously affect the risk of conflict and the degree of democracy, making it hard to interpret any correlation between democracy and violence as evidence of a causal relationship...

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