Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Forcible Regime Change, War, and Democracy
by Ohtsuki, Kazuto, Ph.D., New York University, 2014, 143; 3635286
Abstract (Summary)

Although studies of interstate conflict and the democratic peace have shown that states' political institutions are key to understanding the occurrence of war, how states use forcible regime change as a means to build desirable bilateral relations is a question surprisingly under-studied and under-theorized. This dissertation, through two formal models, theorizes the mechanisms through which powerful states change the future course of bilateral relations by engaging in forcible regime promotion, whereas the extant literature on the democratic peace and war treats political institutions as fixed. The implications drawn from the theoretical models are also tested using quantitative analysis as well as an illustration that relies on declassified documents regarding the democratization of Japan by the United States.

The dissertation offers several theoretical contributions. First, I explain the nature of the interdependent relationship between war and political institutions, in which (the possibility of) war affects the defeated state's political institutions while political institutions determine how states interact with one another. Furthermore, it demonstrates that a victor's commitment not to extract rents after war enabled by forcible democratization of the defeated state leads to a long-run peace between the two states. Second, I show that the nature of goods at stake determines the institutional consequences of defeated states. Post-war democratization is positively associated with victors' security interests in defeated states when victors are democratic, whereas rents such as natural resources have the opposite effect regardless of victors' institutions. Finally, I develop a formal model in which a powerful state induces the enforcement of democratic rule through institutional reform and financial assistance. Furthermore, the model clarifies the conditions under which imposed democracy is enforced by demonstrating how the intrinsic political environment of the target country affects the likelihood that imposed democracy is enforced.

The empirical evidence and the narrative support these claims, and the results offer policy recommendations regarding how a powerful democracy such as the United States can incentivize foreign states to commit to long-term peace and can enforce imposed democracy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce
Commitee: Gilligan, Michael, Smith, Alastair
School: New York University
Department: Politics
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Peace Studies, International Relations, Political science, Military studies
Keywords: Democratic peace theory, Democratization, Interstate conflicts, State building, War
Publication Number: 3635286
ISBN: 978-1-321-16269-1
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