Why do some states pursue nuclear weapons, while others do not? Despite a large literature touting the benefits of democracy for international peace and security, research on the determinants of nuclear proliferation has reached a surprising consensus: domestic political institutions play little role in explaining who seeks these most dangerous of weapons. As one prominent study puts it, “claims…that domestic political factors influence proliferation decisions are much exaggerated” (Jo and Gartzke 2007, 184). Another study concludes that “If domestic politics influences proliferation, it is probably not through regime type” (Sasikumar and Way 2009, 92). Yet another argues that “regime type has little influence on states’ desire to seek such [nuclear] weapons” (Montgomery 2010, 157). Indeed, a recent review of the proliferation literature highlights the claim that “democracies and autocracies are … similar in their proliferation behavior” as one of the few areas of widespread agreement in proliferation research (Sagan 2011). 2