Peace by the Numbers: A Debate

A new analysis of conflict data begs the question: do the data show a random risk of major war, or is there evidence that the decline in wars over the past 70 years is related to external causes?

OEF Research has published a new paper by statistics expert Aaron Clauset that analyzes the patterns of major wars. Over the second half of the twentieth century, conflict scientists have pointed out declines in the number and deadliness of major conflicts, and many have tied these trends to global improvements in human and economic development. Clauset's analysis of conflict data calls into question whether the decline is actually the result of global improvements in development or simply the result of random changes in war risk over time.

Conor Seyle, director of OEF Research, explains these findings in the blog 70 Years of Peace: by Accident or Design?  Meanwhile, Professor Michael Spagat, an expert in conflict studies, weighs in with another blog post on the decline of war debate and how this new paper might affect our conclusions.

Clauset's paper, The Enduring Threat of a Large Interstate War, is available here.