King Democracy: Do Democratic Nations Mitigate Conflict Over Transboundary Freshwater Resources Better Than Other Nations?
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The prospect of water wars and conflict over water are ideas that are frequently dramatized in media and also studied by scholars. It is well-established that bona fide wars are not started over water resources, but conflict over water does exist and is not well understood. One would suppose, as scholars often do, that dyads composed of two democratic nations would be the best at mitigating conflict and promoting cooperation over freshwater resources. General conflict research supports that supposition, as does the argument that democracies must be best at avoiding conflicts over resources because they excel at distributing public goods. This study provides empirical evidence showing how interstate dyads composed of various governance types conflict and cooperate over general water and water quantity issues relative to each other. After evaluating the water conflict mitigating ability of democratic-democratic, democratic-autocratic, and autocratic-autocratic dyads, this study found that democracy-autocracy dyads are less likely to cooperate over general water issues and water quantity issues than the other two dyad types. Nothing certain can be said about how the three dyad types compare to each other in terms of likelihood to conflict over water quantity issues. However, two-autocracy dyads seem to be most likely to cooperate over water quantity issues. These findings support the established belief that democratic-autocratic pairs struggle to cooperate while also encouraging greater scrutiny of the belief that democracies must be best at cooperating over water resources.
DepartmentEnvironmental Sciences and Policy
CitationAbendroth, Kathryn (2016). King Democracy: Do Democratic Nations Mitigate Conflict Over Transboundary Freshwater Resources Better Than Other Nations?. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10161/12413.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers