War Size Distribution: Empirical Regularities Behind the Conflicts

22 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2014

See all articles by Rafael González-Val

Rafael González-Val

University of Zaragoza - Faculty of Business and Economics

Date Written: November 28, 2014

Abstract

This paper analyses the statistical distribution of war size. We find strong support for a Pareto-type distribution (power law) using data from different sources (COW and UCDP) and periods. A power law describes accurately the size distribution of all wars, but also the distribution of the sample of wars in any given period. The estimated Pareto exponent is always less than 1, indicating that the distribution is heavy-tailed; this means that the war average loss is controlled by the largest conflicts. Furthermore, the study of battle deaths’ growth rates reveals a clear decreasing pattern; the growth of deaths declines faster the greater the number of initial deaths.

Keywords: War Size Distribution, Battle Feaths, Power Law, Pareto Distribution

JEL Classification: D74, F51, N40

Suggested Citation

González-Val, Rafael, War Size Distribution: Empirical Regularities Behind the Conflicts (November 28, 2014). FEEM Working Paper No. 098.2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2532389 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2532389

Rafael González-Val (Contact Author)

University of Zaragoza - Faculty of Business and Economics ( email )

Gran Via, 2
Zaragoza, 50005
Spain

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