Big wars, little wars

Avoiding selection bias

Bruce Bueno De Mesquita

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Much international conflict research focuses exclusively on big wars. Yet we lack adequate theory to designate some wars as candidates for bigness without relying upon knowledge of postwar events. Such reliance introduces selection bias into much research on war. That bias may vitiate the significance of our observations. A rudimentary representation of the relationship between rationality and expected war costs is tested against data on European wars from 1815–1965. The results are consistent with expectations. The results highlight the possibility to distinguish big wars from little wars ex ante without a separate theory for each. These simple analyses in conjunction with recent research on war diffusion remind us of the possibility that so-called big wars may not be different in their underlying logic from lesser wars, but rather represent the manifestation of different values on a set of generally important variables. That is, they are truly different in quantity, but not in quality.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)159-169
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Interactions
    Volume16
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 1 1990

    Fingerprint

    trend
    international conflict
    research focus
    rationality
    candidacy
    event
    lack
    costs
    Values

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Big wars, little wars : Avoiding selection bias. / Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce.

    In: International Interactions, Vol. 16, No. 3, 01.12.1990, p. 159-169.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce. / Big wars, little wars : Avoiding selection bias. In: International Interactions. 1990 ; Vol. 16, No. 3. pp. 159-169.
    @article{95551bce142843fd93e5743988016560,
    title = "Big wars, little wars: Avoiding selection bias",
    abstract = "Much international conflict research focuses exclusively on big wars. Yet we lack adequate theory to designate some wars as candidates for bigness without relying upon knowledge of postwar events. Such reliance introduces selection bias into much research on war. That bias may vitiate the significance of our observations. A rudimentary representation of the relationship between rationality and expected war costs is tested against data on European wars from 1815–1965. The results are consistent with expectations. The results highlight the possibility to distinguish big wars from little wars ex ante without a separate theory for each. These simple analyses in conjunction with recent research on war diffusion remind us of the possibility that so-called big wars may not be different in their underlying logic from lesser wars, but rather represent the manifestation of different values on a set of generally important variables. That is, they are truly different in quantity, but not in quality.",
    author = "{Bueno De Mesquita}, Bruce",
    year = "1990",
    month = "12",
    day = "1",
    doi = "10.1080/03050629008434753",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "16",
    pages = "159--169",
    journal = "International Interactions",
    issn = "0305-0629",
    publisher = "Taylor and Francis Ltd.",
    number = "3",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Big wars, little wars

    T2 - Avoiding selection bias

    AU - Bueno De Mesquita, Bruce

    PY - 1990/12/1

    Y1 - 1990/12/1

    N2 - Much international conflict research focuses exclusively on big wars. Yet we lack adequate theory to designate some wars as candidates for bigness without relying upon knowledge of postwar events. Such reliance introduces selection bias into much research on war. That bias may vitiate the significance of our observations. A rudimentary representation of the relationship between rationality and expected war costs is tested against data on European wars from 1815–1965. The results are consistent with expectations. The results highlight the possibility to distinguish big wars from little wars ex ante without a separate theory for each. These simple analyses in conjunction with recent research on war diffusion remind us of the possibility that so-called big wars may not be different in their underlying logic from lesser wars, but rather represent the manifestation of different values on a set of generally important variables. That is, they are truly different in quantity, but not in quality.

    AB - Much international conflict research focuses exclusively on big wars. Yet we lack adequate theory to designate some wars as candidates for bigness without relying upon knowledge of postwar events. Such reliance introduces selection bias into much research on war. That bias may vitiate the significance of our observations. A rudimentary representation of the relationship between rationality and expected war costs is tested against data on European wars from 1815–1965. The results are consistent with expectations. The results highlight the possibility to distinguish big wars from little wars ex ante without a separate theory for each. These simple analyses in conjunction with recent research on war diffusion remind us of the possibility that so-called big wars may not be different in their underlying logic from lesser wars, but rather represent the manifestation of different values on a set of generally important variables. That is, they are truly different in quantity, but not in quality.

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84929225411&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84929225411&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1080/03050629008434753

    DO - 10.1080/03050629008434753

    M3 - Article

    VL - 16

    SP - 159

    EP - 169

    JO - International Interactions

    JF - International Interactions

    SN - 0305-0629

    IS - 3

    ER -