Party system stability and conflict initiation

Lance Y Hunter, Joseph W. Robbins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study of interstate conflict has yielded a voluminous literature to date, yet much of the recent work has only just begun to underscore the importance of domestic factors in predicting conflict initiation in democracies. In short, some of these studies find that when electoral accountability is greater—measured in a variety of ways—interstate conflict becomes less likely. Despite this burgeoning literature, scholars have spent far less time analysing the role linkage institutions, such as stable party systems, have played in foreign policy discussions. To address this gap, we argue that in more stable party systems conflict initiation becomes less likely due to the greater accountability present in these systems. This conjecture is supported by the results of a time-series cross-sectional analysis of 48 democracies from 1978 to 2000 that uses multiple measures of conflict initiation and party system stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1344-1374
Number of pages31
JournalCambridge Review of International Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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