Attracting trouble: Democracy, leadership tenure, and the targeting of militarized challenges, 1918-1992


Journal Article (Review)

Otherwise powerful, formidable democracies are tempting targets for international violence because they have leaders who, on average, have been in office for shorter periods of time than leaders of autocracies. Domestic incentives may make resistance more costly than offering concessions for inexperienced leaders of both democratic and authoritarian states. Over time, however, resistance may become domestically less costly, causing experienced leaders to be more likely to prefer resistance. Anticipating this response, potential challengers may be more likely to target inexperienced leaders. Because democracies generally have high rates of leadership turnover, they are tempting targets for international violence. Statistical analysis of crisis initiation between 1918 and 1992 confirms the perception that democracies are more likely to be targets of militarized challenges. Results are also consistent with the proposition that the relatively short tenure in office served by democratic leaders helps to account for the observed pattern of democratic attraction of foreign challenges.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Gelpi, C; Grieco, JM

Published Date

  • January 1, 2001

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 45 / 6

Start / End Page

  • 794 - 817

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0027

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0022002701045006005

Citation Source

  • Scopus