Modeling the Size of Wars: from Billiard Balls to Sandpiles

American Political Science Review 97(01): 135–50.
Richardson’s finding that the severity of interstate wars is power law distributed belongs to the most striking empirical regularities in world politics. This is a regularity in search of a theory. Drawing on the principles of self‐organized criticality, I propose an agent‐based model of war and state formation that exhibits power‐law regularities. The computational findings suggest that the scale‐free behavior depends on a process of technological change that leads to contextually dependent, stochastic decisions to wage war.
DOI: 10.1017/S0003055403000571
Cederman, Lars-Erik. 2003. “Modeling the Size of Wars: From Billiard Balls to Sandpiles.” American Political Science Review 97(01): 135–50.
@article{modeling-the-size-of-wars,
   title = {Modeling the Size of Wars: from Billiard Balls to Sandpiles},
   author = {Cederman, Lars-Erik},
   journal = {American Political Science Review},
   volume = {97},
   number = {01},
   pages = {135--150},
   year = {2003},
   abstract = {Richardson's finding that the severity of interstate wars is power law distributed belongs to the most striking empirical regularities in world politics. This is a regularity in search of a theory. Drawing on the principles of self-organized criticality, I propose an agent-based model of war and state formation that exhibits power-law regularities. The computational findings suggest that the scale-free behavior depends on a process of technological change that leads to contextually dependent, stochastic decisions to wage war.},
   doi = {10.1017/S0003055403000571},
   url = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003055403000571},
   status = {personal}
}