Selected Articles and Chapters

Short TitleWhy Read This?PDFTags
Teaching Formal Theory in International Relations (essay in H-Diplo forum, 2023)
Read if you want an opinionated but (I hope) reasonable argument for how we could better teach theory in IR and the social sciences.
Trends in Interstate Conflict (book chapter, 2021)
Read if you want a literature review on the question of whether war is in decline.
Literature ReviewDecline-of-War ThesisHistorical IR
Systemic Trends in War and Peace (book chapter, 2019)
Read if you want a succinct summary of the material in Only the Dead that only focuses on changes in the rate of conflict initiation over time.
Decline-of-War ThesisHistorical IR
Statistics and International Security (Oxford Encyclopedia, 2018)
Read if you’re an international security scholar who’s wondering how to think about the distinction between explanation and prediction and how to combine the two.
Literature ReviewMethods
Flexible Causal Inference for Political Science (PA, 2018)
Read if you want a simple extension of logit that does causal inference and doesn’t require you to measure of all of the confounders.
MethodsSoftwareCausal Inference
Unifying the Study of Asymmetric Hypotheses (PA, 2017)
Read if you want a method to use to test a theory of the form “some amount of X is necessary/sufficient for some amount of Y” or “X creates an upper/lower bound on Y.”
Logics of Systemic Theory (Oxford Encyclopedia, 2017)
Read if you’d like a primer on how to use equation-based, network, agent-based, and rational-choice models for systemic theorizing in international relations.
Literature ReviewSystemic TheoryComplexityMethods
Food Scarcity and State Vulnerability (JPR, 2017)
Read for an argument that the relationship between climate-induced food insecurity and violent unrest is contingent on the institutional and structural vulnerability of the state.
Climate ChangeFood InsecurityViolent ConflictComplexity
Aggregation Bias and the Analysis of Necessary and Sufficient Conditions in fsQCA (SM&R, 2017)
Read for a demonstration that fsQCA can easily produce what look like meaningful relationships from pure noise, thanks to the way in which variables are aggregated.
The Promise of Historical Dynamism for the American Study of IR (IT, 2016)
Read for an argument that conflict scholars who use quantitative methods should really, really care about recent English-school work on the globalization of international society.
Historical IRMethods
Systemic Theories of International Politics (Oxford Encyclopedia, 2016)
Read for a review of various attempts at systemic theories of international relations and their strengths and weaknesses.
Literature ReviewSystemic Theory
Guarding Against False Positives in QCA (PA, 2015)
Read for an argument that false-positive results in QCA and fsQCA are alarmingly common, and for a statistical technique designed to flag them.
The Great Powers and the International System (H-DIPLO roundtable, 2015)
Read for a short summary of the high and low points of The Great Powers and the International System, with the author’s response.
Systemic TheoryHistorical IRIR Theory
Analyzing Interactions (QMMR, 2014)
Read for a comparison of the pros and cons of four ways of analyzing interactions (fsQCA, interaction terms, stochastic frontier models, Boolean logit)
Political Irrelevance, Democracy, and the Limits of Militarized Conflict (JCR, 2011)
Read for an example of how to capture the effects of democracy and political irrelevance on conflict onset in a statistically principled manner.
Violent ConflictMethodsComplexity
The Myth of American Isolationism (FPA, 2010)
Read for an argument, and evidence, that isolationism is a poor characterization of American interwar foreign policy.
Historical IR
Understanding System Dynamics (book chapter, 2010)
Read for a discussion of the promise of equation-based models for IR theory and a preview of the systemic theory at the heart of The Great Powers and the International System.
Systemic TheoryHistorical IRIR TheoryComplexity
Rediscovering Complexity and Synthesis (book chapter, 2009)
Read for a short (3pp.) argument that IR theory focuses too much on testing individual theories and not enough on complexity and theoretical synthesis.
Systemic TheoryIR TheoryComplexity
Systemic Politics and the Origins of Great Power Conflict (APSR, 2008)
Read for summary of the systemic theory at the heart of The Great Powers and the International System and for a test of the deterrence vs. spiral model.
Systemic TheoryIR TheoryComplexity
Explaining Variance (PA, 2006)
Read for a discussion of mechanisms that produce changes in the variance, rather than the mean, of the distribution of an outcome.
IR TheoryMethods
Hypothesis Testing and Multiplicative Interaction Terms (IO, 2004)
Read if you don’t want to screw up the interpretation of multiplicative interaction terms... even (especially!) if you think you know how to do it correctly.
Promise and Perils of Statistics in IR (book chapter, 2004)
Read for an argument that, while statistics hold great promise for IR, more attention must be paid to the theoretical relevance of statistical tests and to the interpretation of results.
MethodsLiterature ReviewIR Theory
Causal Complexity and the Study of Politics (PA, 2003)
Read for a new partial-observability statistical model, Boolean logit/probit, designed for testing complex theories (e.g., A and (B or C) produce Y).
MethodsIR TheoryComplexity
Methodology of Necessary Conditions (AJPS, 2000)
Read for new statistical methods for testing theories that posit necessary conditions, as well as a discussion of common pitfalls.
Deadly Doves: Liberal Nationalism and the Democratic Peace in the Soviet Successor States (ISQ, 1997)
Read for an argument that the implications of liberalism for peace are context-dependent, and evidence that liberal nationalism in the former Soviet sphere is not especially peaceful.
IR TheoryViolent Conflict