Reconfiguring the Arms Race-War Debate

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Diehl, Paul F.; & Crescenzi, Mark J. (1998) Reconfiguring the Arms Race-War Debate , Journal of Peace Research 35(1): 111–118.

A recent article by Susan Sample purports to resolve a debate that has generated a great deal of scholarly attention over the past two decades, whether arms races are associated with the escalation of militarized disputes to war. In response, we outline a research agenda designed to reconfigure the arms race-war debate rather than to perpetuate the controversy. We argue for better theoretical specification of the arms race-war relationship, and for empirical tests to sort out whether this relationship is direct, indirect, or spurious. We also advocate some methodological changes including more longitudinal studies, a broader spatial domain to include minor powers, less reliance on military expenditure data, and multivariate (rather than bivariate) tests of the arms race-war relationship.

Authors

Mark J. Crescenzi

Mark J. Crescenzi

Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill