Document Type

Conference Paper

Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

American Political Science Association Conference

Conference Location

Boston, MA

DOI of Published Version


Total Pages

33 pages


Some studies find that democratic states are more amenable to third party forms of conflict management, while other studies indicate that democracies are able to resolve contentious issues on their own through bilateral negotiations. Using data from the Issue Correlates of War (ICOW) Project, the authors investigate peaceful and militarized conflict management strategies that democratic states employ to resolve contentious issues. Theoretically, the authors focus on how militarized conflict history, relative capabilities, and issue salience influence the tools of conflict management that democratic states employ. Empirical analyses suggest that democratic dyads employ bilateral negotiations more often to resolve contentious issues when the issue has been militarized previously, when the issue is more salient, and when they are facing an equal adversary. Democratic dyads seek out non-binding third party settlement more frequently in situations of power preponderance than non-democratic dyads, although binding forms of third party settlement occur most often in relatively equal democratic dyads. Pairs of democracies are more likely to employ militarized conflict management strategies when they have resorted to force over the issue previously, when the issue is highly salient, and when they are evenly matched.


We thank Paul Hensel and John Vasquez for comments on a previous version of the paper.


Copyright © 2008 Glynn Ellis, Sara Mitchell and Brandon C. Prins