Do democratic institutions inform or constrain? To answer this question, we need to review the two competing theories of that hold the principal of democratic peace. The citizens of democratic institutions usually hold their political leaders accountable in case of a war risks, and this implies that democratic institutions should generally go to war less often. On the other hand, the relative transparency process of policy-making applied in democracies allows them to make more realistic threats during times of crises. The reason why democracies rarely fight one another is because it is easier to keep away from the imbalances of information that contribute to nonnegotiable breakdowns.
Several theories exist that produce competing hypothesis but though both hypotheses explain the same results of democratic peace, they face rejection from other country which may spark the likelihood of attacks.
- The first hypothesis asserts that the other state will not consider the threat to be credible. After all, state A’s leaders would find political risks if they carried out the threats of war and thus State B will oppose the threat and soar the crisis.
- The other hypothesis maintains that State B may believes the threat to be realistic, it will be therefore less likely to defy the threat and consequently escalate the crisis.
The empirical validity may suffer the selection bias at times. If the first hypothesis is right, the only time that states would pick fight is the only time they are sure of winning. The other state would only be left with the option of making a consensus. The institutional explanation would also have the same explanation.