Short Title | Why Read This? | Tags | |
---|---|---|---|

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. | MethodsModelingTheory | |

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.” | MethodsSoftwareQCA | |

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. | MethodsQCA | |

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. | MethodsQCASoftware | |

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) | MethodsQCAComplexity | |

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. | Methods | |

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. | Methods | |

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 |