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36 J. Conflict Resol. 3 (1992)

handle is hein.journals/jcfltr36 and id is 1 raw text is: 











The Concentration of

Capabilities and the Onset of War



EDWARD D. MANSFIELD
Columbia University




   Recent empirical research has produced no consensus on what (if any) relationship exists
between the concentration of capabilities and the onset of war. The results of this article indicate
that concentration is related to the frequency of war, but that rather than the monotonic
relationship predicted by both balance of power and power preponderance theories, the relation-
ship appears to have an inverted U-shape. We also show that concentration can be disaggregated
into: (1) the number of major powers, and (2) the inequality of capabilities among the major
powers. Our analysis shows that both components influence war, but that the effect on war of
each component of concentration depends on the level of the other.




Few topics in   international relations have generated  as much  interest, and
as little agreement, as the relationship between the distribution of power and
war. Much   of the scholarly debate on this topic has revolved around whether
the  concentration  of capabilities is directly or inversely  related to war.
Evidence   has been  found  to support each of  these positions, as well as to
support  the view  that no relationship exists between  the  concentration of
capabilities and war. Previous studies have helped to advance our understand-
ing  of this relationship, but the lack of  agreement  among   their findings
suggests  that more research is needed on  this important topic.
    The purpose  of this article is to present empirical results based on less
restrictive assumptions  regarding  the effects of concentration on war  than


    AUTHOR'S   NOTE: An  earlier version of this article was presented at the 1990 annual
meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco. I am grateful to Youseff
Cohen, Frederick Frey, Avery Goldstein, Joanne Gowa, Jacek Kugler, Jack Levy, Patrick
Morgan, Jack Nagel, Randall Schweller, Jack Snyder, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful
comments. I am also indebted to Bruce I. Snyder for preparing Figure 1. This research was
supported by the Columbia University Council for Research in the Social Sciences.

JOURNAL  OF CONFLICT RESOLUTION, Vol. 36 No. 1, March 1992 3-24
U  1992 Sage Publications, Inc.
                                                                             3


from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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