Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Karen Mingst

Second Advisor

Dr. Clayton Thyne


The Kantian Triangle of democratic institutions, IGOs, and economic interdependence has received a great deal of attention by international relations scholars. This project expands on liberal theory by arguing the pacific effects of the Kantian Triangle extend beyond dyadic context, and shapes state decision making on defense spending decisions. This project asserts that as states (1) build democratic institutions, (2) increase the number of memberships in international intergovernmental organizations (IGOs), and (3) exposes domestic markets to the global economy and subsequent interdependence on foreign markets for both imports and exports, they are less likely to allocate resources toward the military. To test this argument I employ both quantitative and qualitative methods. I first utilize a pooled time series data set of all states from 1960-2000. I then examine the case of Brazil and its relationship with the Kantian Triangle and subsequent military planning decisions. I conclude that there is mixed evidence to support the notion that the Kantian Triangle reduces military spending. I establish that while democracies reduce military spending, consolidated democracies enjoy no additional benefit in military spending. However, the longer states are democracies the more likely they are to reduce spending, and if they have electoral systems based on consensus designs. I find that IGO memberships reduce military spending, however, the bulk of influence IGOs have on military spending decisions are retained by security focused organizations. Lastly, I find that international trade and overall economic globalization increases military spending, while regional trade decreases it. In all the Kantian Triangle has a substantial influence on military spending, yet it is clear from this project that this influence is not universal among all elements of the Kantian Triangle, and that the liberal influences are not completely pacific.