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Quantitative Studies in the Balance of Power: An Historian's Reaction

Paul W. Schroeder
The Journal of Conflict Resolution
Vol. 21, No. 1 (Mar., 1977), pp. 3-22
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/173680
Page Count: 20
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Quantitative Studies in the Balance of Power: An Historian's Reaction
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Abstract

Quantitative studies in the history of international relations have become increasingly prominent in recent years, yet have been largely ignored by diplomatic historians. The author, a diplomatic historian, examines a recent, promising effort to test balance of power theory through a quantitative analysis of the events of European diplomatic history, 1870-1881, as recorded by historians. He concludes that though the research involved is impressive and the conclusions reached both sensible and provocative, the project appears to ignore certain inherent limitations in its historical materials and certain complexities of international relations in its efforts to achieve objective ratings of cooperation vs. conflict, activity vs. passivity, and alignment vs. opposition. In addition, the objective indices for power and status seem inadequate and misleading in important respects.

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