Measuring Systemic Polarity

Bruce Bueno de Mesquita

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Indicators of the tightness and discreteness of poles in the international system, as well as of the distribution of capabilities and interaction opportunities among poles, are developed. With alliance bonds as the focus, scores for each indicator are presented for each year of the past century and a half, and several prevalent theories linking polarity to war are tested. The amount of major power war begun during five-year periods is found to be unrelated to the tightness of the poles, although increases in tightness are substantially associated with large amounts of war. Bipolar systems are found to experience less war than multipolar systems, with increases in the number of clusters being especially strongly associated with the amount of major power war during subsequent five-year periods. Neither changes in the discreteness nor the distribution of capabilities among the poles has any appreciable effect on the amount of major power war.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)187-216
    Number of pages30
    JournalJournal of Conflict Resolution
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Jun 1975

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Business, Management and Accounting
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations


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