War, economic development, and political development in the contemporary international system

Cameron G. Thies, David Sobek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Scopus citations


The European state-building experience has led many scholars to argue that war forces states to increase their fiscal-administrative capacity, or what we might refer to as political development, in order to compete in the international system. War also requires states to generate wealth to support such competition, which should lead to progressively increased levels of economic development. Yet, in contemporary empirical studies, war is often studied as a dependent variable, with economic and political development modeled as affecting its origination. This reading of theory and empirical work suggests that war, economic development, and political development constitute an endogenous system. In this paper, we develop expectations about how these three processes interact and test them using a three-stage least squares regression model. The results show significant simultaneous relationships between the three processes. We conclude that war, economic development, and political development are mutually constitutive processes in the contemporary international system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-287
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2010


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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