Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Political Science, PhD


School of Social Science, Politics, and Evaluation

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Melissa Rogers

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Jacek Kugler

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Sallama Shaker

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2022 Timothy Milosch


The belief that democratic states are less likely to engage in war or initiate conflicts in the international system is deeply embedded in the international relations literature, but also hotly contested. Despite close to two centuries of theoretical presence and decades of empirical analysis, the democratic peace theory project still struggles to explain and measure the role democracy (understood as representative government, liberal culture, or both) plays in interstate relations generally, and the onset of conflict specifically. In the empirical international relations literature, in particular, problems persist surrounding measures for democracy and the modeling of interstate interactions (country level, dyad level, regional level, etc.). A seminal study in this project of establishing empirical support for democratic peace theory is Stuart Bremer’s 1992 article “Dangerous Dyads,” that helped establish the dyad as a critical unit of analysis in the literature and also verified Rummel’s (1983) findings positing strong empirical support for democratic peace theory’s central claim: democracies do not fight other democracies. The decades since that article’s publication have seen multiple attempts to replicate and refine Bremer’s findings with decidedly mixed results. This dissertation reevaluates Bremer’s original model and his findings on monadic democratic peace by first reassessing and refining Bremer’s use of Poisson regression and then introducing an interaction variable for liberal values. Unlike Bremer, and many others, who focused their measures of democracy on the presence of democratic institutions as presented in the Polity Project, this study proposes a democracy measure that accounts for the interaction of institutions with broader political values of freedom as measured by Freedom House. It then adds that interaction variable to a modified Poisson regression model with crisis onset as the dependent variable. The results indicate statistically significant findings for crisis onset in dyads with undemocratic institutions in the 1972-2012 period but find that dyads with undemocratic institutions yet differing political values are even more prone to crisis indicating that the varying effects of “democracy” in past studies may be an effect of under specified models. It further notes the presence of “crisis clusters” in geographic regions that is likely an effect of the time period being studied, which suggests the need for a more temporally and spatially specified analysis of democratic peace theory’s major claims.