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Power Concentration and Interstate Conflict: Is There a Connection?


  • James Lee Ray

    (Vanderbilt University,

  • Patrick Bentley

    (Vanderbilt University)


Singer et al. (1972) hypothesized that the distribution of military—industrial capabilities among the major powers, as reflected in an index referred to as CON, would have an impact on the incidence of war for those states. Subsequent research on the possible connection between CON and interstate conflict has continued for almost four decades. A recent book declares that CON is the single most potent predictor of interstate conflict. However, theoretical arguments linking CON to conflict tend to be implausible or illogical. Furthermore, empirical analyses over the years have produced inconsistent results. These problems cannot be traced to flaws in CON. The long history of CON suggests that models of interstate conflict would benefit from more cogent theoretical bases for choices of individual variables, as well as the set of variables included in those models.

Suggested Citation

  • James Lee Ray & Patrick Bentley, 2010. "Power Concentration and Interstate Conflict: Is There a Connection?," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 22(4), pages 407-429, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:jothpo:v:22:y:2010:i:4:p:407-429

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