Murat Iyigun ponders trends in war and conflict

Murat Iyigun writes:

The graph below shows a 10-year moving average of the number of wars and domestic conflict in continental Europe for the half millennium between 1450 and 1950. It depicts various intriguing facts, some of which have been identified long ago and some others that are recently surfacing.

For starters, the 18th century was the most peaceful on record. In fact, as the political science literature established in the 1960s, this trend holds true not only for Europe, but also for violent confrontations globally.

But why did violent conflicts rise in the 20th century as they did after a remarkable decline commensurate with Europe’s economic ascend in the 17th and 18th centuries? How will a reshuffling and steady evolution of the world political order affect these patterns (remember the League of Nations)?

And how does technological change influence the propensity to engage in conflicts? Here is an intriguing paper by Nippe Lagerlof which attempts to deal with that question.

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