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Do liberal norms matter? A cross-regime experimental investigation of the normative explanation of the democratic peace thesis in China and The Netherlands

An experimental comparison of the impact of liberal norms on a population residing and socialised within a democracy (the Netherlands) with a population in an autocracy (China) and their respective supports for war with another state shows that the level of liberal norms in the democratic experimental group, although significantly higher than that in the autocratic experimental group, does not influence the support to go to war. Moreover, the threat of the conflict turns out to be the key indicator for the support for war among both groups. This finding provides a clearer understanding of the relationship between regime type and the use of force, and has important implications for democratic peace theories.

Femke E. Bakker
05 July 2016
Acta Politica

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