Quantitative Approaches

Edward D. Mansfield and Jon C. Pevehouse

in The Oxford Handbook of International Relations

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199219322
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:


Quantitative Approaches

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  • Politics
  • International Relations
  • Political Methodology



This article surveys quantitative research on international relations, tracking its development and assessing the contribution that this body of literature has made. The aim is to analyze how quantitative work has informed some key debates in the field of international relations. It concludes with three observations about the use of these methods. First, quantitative analyses are now increasingly common in the field. The use of statistical techniques started during the Cold War, but the end of the superpower rivalry corresponded with a sharp increase in both the amount of quantitative research and the topics on which this research focused. Secondly, concomitant to the general rise of statistical approaches in the discipline and the end of the Cold War, researchers became increasingly interested in the roles of domestic politics and international institutions in shaping global outcomes. Thirdly, and most importantly, while some continue to criticize quantitative approaches as atheoretical, statistical work in the field of international relations has advanced our empirical understanding and has pushed theoretical boundaries.

Keywords: international relations; quantitative research; quantitative techniques; superpower rivary; statistical approaches

Article.  7776 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; International Relations ; Political Methodology

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