Our investigation is built on the existing research and intends to tackle two essential questions to make an original contribution to the literature and deepen the empirical examination of the Democratic Peace Theory.
Investments in military institutions and the underlying reasons for those investments have long been areas of central importance in peace and conflict research. Our investigation is built on the existing research and intends to tackle two essential questions to make an original contribution to the literature and deepen the empirical examination of the Democratic Peace Theory. First, does the negative relationship between the level of democratization and military expenditures remain although we extend the scope of our dependent variable from ‘military expenditures’ to ‘militarization,’ thus including other indicators such as recruitment of military and paramilitary personnel as well as heavy weapons? Second, which specific elements of democracy have greater explanatory power for the respective peacefulness of democratic regimes? This study uses multiple regression analysis to explore the relationship between indicators related to levels of democratization and levels of states’ militarization. Our data is drawn from the Bonn International Center for Conversion’s Global Militarisation Index and The Economists’ 2019 Democracy Index. According to our research, higher scores for the indicators ‘electoral process and pluralism’ and ‘political culture’ were found to predict lower rates of militarization, but higher scores for the indicators ‘functioning of government’ and ‘political participation’ were found to predict higher rates of militarization, while the relationships between ‘functioning of government’ and ‘political participation’ and states’ militarization levels were not statistically significant. Thus, ‘political culture’ showed greater explanatory power than ‘functioning of government’ and ‘political participation.’ In sum, the study’s results suggest that the different indicators related to democracy variably predict militarization, and thus that further investigation of these individual indicators and their relationship to militarization is warranted. Although we are limited in our ability to explain why some indicators negatively predict militarization more strongly than others, our study illustrates that such differences in predictive power are substantial and that further research is required to understand which aspects of democracy might best explain the overall negative relationship between democratic regimes and military expenditures that has been established in previous studies.