Is War Disappearing?
APSA Chicago 2013 Meeting
28 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2013 Last revised: 30 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 27, 2013
There is a large and growing belief, based on a handful of recent scholarly works, that the propensity of states to use force against one another is on the decline. I take issue with two lines of argument that support this conclusion. The first is the claim that, whereas the two World Wars were statistical anomalies, the “Long Peace” that followed is a meaningful trend: I show that both are very plausibly the result of the same stochastic process. The second is the claim that there is less war now than there was in the recent past: I examine what is meant by war, control for two confounding influences that resulted from the proliferation of states in the 20th century, and show that, taking those considerations into account, no such trend is evident.
Keywords: war, international security, statistics, APSA Chicago 2013 Meeting
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