chapter  5
The Logic and Study of the Diffusion of International Conflict
Pages 30

This chapter presents a review of the theoretical, data-based research on the diffusion of war, a review that is divided into two main parts.1 The first part traces the development of the research attempting to capture the nature of the process that best accounts for the distribution of wars across time. As we will show, this research finds that the process seems to be best characterized by positive spatial diffusion or contagion; that is, the occurrence of one war increases the probability of further war. Building upon that finding, the second part explores this within the context of Starr's (1978) conceptualization of "opportunity" and "willingness" in international conflict. These two related ideas will furnish a framework within which, we believe, the current research makes theoretical sense.