Probabilistic Causality, Selection Bias, and the Logic of the Democratic Peace

Branislav L. Slantchev, Anna Alexandrova, Erik Gartzke

American Political Science Review, Vol. 99, No. 3. (August, 2005), pp. 459-462.


Rosato (2003) claims to have discredited democratic peace theories. However, the methodological approach adopted by the study cannot reliably generate the conclusions espoused by the author. Rosato seems to misunderstand the probabilistic nature of most arguments about democratic peace and ignores issues that an appropriate research design should account for. Further, the study's use of case studies and data sets without attention to selection-bias produces examples that actually support theories it seeks to undermine. These problems place in doubt the article's findings.


social science, philosophy of science, methodology, determinism