Dangerous neighbours, regional territorial conflict and the democratic peace

Douglas M. Gibler, Alex Braithwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The likelihood of conflict and the observation of joint democracy tend to cluster regionally. This article tests the argument that these clusters can be explained by regional variations in the stability of international borders using a new dataset of territorial dispute hot spots from 1960-1998. These hot spots identify spatial and temporal correlations in the territorial dispute data and therefore serve as close proxies for regional or neighbourhood instability. The addition of these hot spots also eliminates a common form of omitted variable bias - the spatial clustering of conflict - in international conflict models. These results confirm that joint democracy is only statistically significant as a predictor of fatal militarized interstate disputes in more peaceful neighbourhoods once territorial hot spots are jointly estimated. The interaction between joint democracy and regional instability confirms that the effects of regime type on continued conflict apply mostly to dyads in peaceful regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)877-887
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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