Public Choice

, Volume 164, Issue 1–2, pp 177–179 | Cite as

Jonathan D. Caverley: Democratic militarism: voting, wealth, and war

Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, 2014, Xvi + 306 p, USD 29.99(paper)
  • Abigail HallEmail author
Book Review

Jonathan Caverley’s Democratic Militarism: Voting, Wealth, and War calls into question some of the long-standing ideas from economics, defense studies, and international relations. More specifically, Caverley questions the idea that democracies tend to shy away from war unless absolutely necessary. In addition, he questions the assumption that, when democratic states do elect to engage in conflict, they undertake fights they are certain to win.

Building off a vast literature from international relations, economics, and public choice, Caverley offers a novel and well-constructed argument. He begins his analysis by taking the assumptions of what he terms “democratic exceptionalism” as given. This literature claims that the voting mechanism of democracy ensures that elected political actors will select policies supported by, and in the best interests of, the citizenry. This includes entering conflicts where there is a high likelihood of failure. As a result, it is asserted democracies...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Economics, JS, 306The University of TampaTampaUSA

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