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Diffusion, Reinforcement, Geopolitics, and the Spread of War


  • Most, Benjamin A.
  • Starr, Harvey


The discussion reports the results of an examination of the possible diffusion of new war participations during the 1946–65 era. A theoretical argument is developed to yield more precise expectations about when, where, why, and how diffusion processs might operate. Four diffusion-related processes (positive spatial diffusion, positive reinforcement, negative spatial diffusion, and negative reinforcement) are discussed and analyzed. A series of simple turnover tables and a focus on nations' borders are used to go beyond the authors' previous stochastic modeling efforts. The results provide strong evidence that is consistent with both the authors' theoretical argument and the general war diffusion hypothesis. The analyses seem to indicate that certain types of wars may indeed have tended to diffuse across space from one nation to another between 1946 and 1965.

Suggested Citation

  • Most, Benjamin A. & Starr, Harvey, 1980. "Diffusion, Reinforcement, Geopolitics, and the Spread of War," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 74(4), pages 932-946, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:74:y:1980:i:04:p:932-946_16

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    10. Jeffrey Pickering & Emizet F. Kisangani, 2010. "Diversionary Despots? Comparing Autocracies' Propensities to Use and to Benefit from Military Force," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 54(2), pages 477-493, April.
    11. Rotolo, Thomas & Lengefeld, Michael, 2020. "Clearing the cobwebs: An analysis of the timing of youth concussion legislation in U.S. states," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 265(C).
    12. Fredrik Doeser & Joakim Eidenfalk, 2013. "The importance of windows of opportunity for foreign policy change," International Area Studies Review, Center for International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, vol. 16(4), pages 390-406, December.
    13. Melin, Molly M., 2016. "Business, peace, and world politics: The role of third parties in conflict resolution," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 59(5), pages 493-501.

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