Research

Professor Braumoeller’s research is in the areas of international relations, especially international security, and statistical methodology. His current research focus is on the complex relationship between international order and international conflict. His substantive research includes an original, book-length systemic theory of international relations, The Great Powers and the International System (Cambridge University Press; winner of the 2014 International Studies Association Best Book Award and the 2014 J. David Singer Book Award) as well as various works on international conflict, the history of American isolationism, and the problem of so-called “politically irrelevant dyads.” He is currently finishing a book on the decline-of-war thesis entitled Only the Dead: The Persistence of War in the Modern Age (Oxford University Press, 2019).

His primary statistical research revolves around causal inference with observational data and statistical models of complexity. In the latter vein, he has also written on the testing of asymmetric hypothesis, the methodologies of necessary conditions and qualitative comparative analysis (QCA), the study of variance-altering causes, and the use and abuse of multiplicative interaction terms. He has also created a course titled “Data Literacy and Data Visualization” that has reached a wide online audience via iTunes U.

Talk at the Nobel Institute

Professor Braumoeller presents his research on the decline-of-war thesis at the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

Ongoing Projects

The primary substantive focus of Professor Braumoeller’s ongoing research is understanding the dynamics of the international system and the implications for international conflict. He is also interested in further developments and applications in the field of causal inference.

International Order and International Conflict

What different forms does international order take? What are the implications of international order for international conflict, both within and across orders? This project uses a combination of historical investigation, statistical analysis, and computational modeling to explore the complex answers to one of the most important questions in contemporary international relations.

The Decline-of-War Thesis

While pessimists have been too quick to discount the successes of our attempts to reduce international conflict, optimists are prone to put too much faith in human nature. Reality lies somewhere in between: While the aspirations of humankind to govern its behavior with reason and justice have had shocking success in moderating the harsh dictates of realpolitik, the institutions that we have created to prevent war are unlikely to achieve anything like total success.

Causal Inference

While much of quantitative research in the social sciences has been descriptive, recent advances in statistical methods have dramatically increased our ability to derive causal inferences from observational data. Such inferences can inform not only theory-testing in the social sciences but evidence-based policy in government and analysis of human behavior more generally in the private sector.