Document Type

Honors Project

Publication Date



While the causes of war have long been studied, the same scrutiny has not been applied to war duration. Recent empirical studies have found that similar variables correlate with both war outbreak and duration, thereby hinting at new areas for war research that can be conducted with a fresh perspective. One variable that stands out for this type of interrogation is conscription (especially when considered alongside regime type), as research on the subject has generated contradicting and inconclusive results. Given that many states around the world are replacing conscription with all volunteer forces, asking if conscription increases or decreases the lengths of wars has never been more salient. Using duration time models that assess hazard rates, I examine interstate wars from 1938-2007 to determine the risks democratic countries take on with military manpower systems. I conclude that war initiation and democracy are associated with shorter wars due to their hazard ratios. When democracies initiate wars, they are much shorter. Conscription is associated with longer wars regardless of regime type; however, this is not necessarily because conscription leads to longer wars. Rather, I argue, conscription is an indicator of state insecurity.

Level of Honors

cum laude




Jason Brozek