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In The Behavioral Origins of War, D. Scott Bennett and Allan C. Stam analyze systemic, binary, and individual factors in order to evaluate a wide variety of theories about the origins of war.
Challenging the view that theories of war are nothing more than competing explanations for observed behavior, this expansive study incorporates variables from multiple theories and thus accounts for war's multiplicity of causes. While individual theories offer partial explanations for international conflict, only a valid set of theories can provide a complete explanation. Bennett and Stam's unconventional yet methodical approach opens the way for cumulative scientific progress in international relations.
". . . an extraordinary book that takes the study of the causes of war to new levels of analytical sophistication and scientific advancement. Other scholars have surveyed and synthesized voluminous empirical studies of war. . . . But Bennett and Stam created a special testing methodology and publicly accessible software, and 'scientifically evaluated the relative explanatory power' of 16 theories of war at the state, dyad, and international system levels of analysis. . . . Underscoring the complex paths to conflict onset and escalation, their model predicts both system-level war frequency and 'dangerous dyads' exhibiting specific patterns including geographical contiguity, capability imbalance, arms races, autocracy, and recent history of conflict. A must for college university libraries and relevant specialized collections."
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