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date: 22 November 2017

War Making and the Building of State Capacity: Expanding the Bivariate Relationship

Summary and Keywords

A central cleavage in the war making-state making literature is between advocates of the notion that warfare has been the principal path to developing stronger states and critics who argue that the relationship no longer holds, especially in non-European contexts. It is suggested that the problem is simply one of theoretical specification. Increasingly intensive warfare, as manifested in European combat, made states stronger. Less intensive warfare, particularly common after 1945, is less likely to do so. Empirical analysis of a more representative data set on state capacity (revenues as a proportion of gross domestic product [GDP]), focusing on cases since 1870, strongly supports this point of view. The intensiveness of war is not the only factor at work—regime type and win/loss outcomes matter as well—but the relationship does not appear to be constrained by the level of development.

Keywords: war, war making, state building, state capacity, war outcomes, regime type, economic development, empirical international relations theory

Introduction

War makes states and states make war is a catchy aphorism that for all of its appeal remains contested. Scholars who have studied European history and/or the trajectories of major powers have found strong evidence in support of the relationship. Scholars who study less-developed regions tend to argue that the relationship does not work in their selected patch of the world. Still others argue that the relationship is more complicated. Its operation is contingent on the presence or absence of additional, critical variables. It depends, according to different authors, on what types of war are waged, how the wars are fought and financed, what types of regimes are at war, where the wars are fought, or even who wins and loses.

Oddly enough, the proposition that war tends to expand state capacity (via revenue extraction) in an upward ratcheting way has rarely been tested all that comprehensively. Part of the problem has been missing data on revenues and systematic ways to control for inflation. By default, much of the information that we have is based on major powers because they are prominent and because their fiscal records are more accessible. However, more data are now available. Hence, it is possible to examine the empirical relationship between war and revenues more broadly. Unfortunately, though, over time, state revenue data remains restricted and would confine a comparison of states with and without warfare to the post-World War II period in which warfare has been more limited than it has in the full 20th century. This fact forces some research design compromises that will be discussed later.

Nonetheless, in a new effort to address the contested nature of war making-state making processes, we advance a more generalized argument and expand the number of cases and geographical scope for investigation beyond earlier analyses. In the end, we put forward a theoretical and empirical resolution of some of the analytical debates on this topic. We maintain that it is not war per se that makes the state. Rather, in the modern era, it is the most intensive warfare that leads to extensive mobilization and, consequently, more state expansion. Other factors play some role as well, but it is the extent of warfare, not its mere occurrence, that is most critical for state expansion. In particular, the type of total warfare manifested in World Wars I and II were most likely to generate positive state capacity effects.

Claims for the lack of applicability of the war making-state making relationship—although fairly well established in European history—to various parts of the non-European world should consider the types of wars fought in these parts, and not so much the utility of the “bellicist” theory alone. In other words, we are modifying the traditional aphorism to “the most intensive types of war makes states, but states make war at varying intensity.”

The War-State Building Relationship

The basic contention in the war making-state making model is that states are inherently organizations that make war and collect tribute in order to make more war (Pollack, 2009, p. 291):

The state is a political organization that claims a monopoly on violence within a given territory. To the extent that a particular state actually possesses such a monopoly (or something close to it), it is ideally situated to perform two vital functions: make war and collect tribute from those living under its jurisdiction. A good deal of the tribute collected is typically dedicated to the military apparatus of the state, which in turn, is used to forcibly extract revenue from society and sometimes, other nations. This is the basis of the powerful combination of fiscal and military powers behind the state. In essence, all states are fiscal-military organizations—some more efficient and successful than others.

The survivors of the intensely escalatory warfare in Europe (and some of its leading former colonies) between the 16th and mid-20th centuries developed into relatively strong states. To survive the warfare, more and more revenue needed to be extracted from wherever it could be found. Meanwhile, more demanding wars required an expanded bureaucracy to collect and manage state revenues. They also entailed larger armed forces and more expensive weaponry technology. In turn, stronger states could then fight more total wars, which led to an increasing threshold of future resources that states would need to participate in the warfare system. It is in this sense that war made the state and states made war.1

Yet there are at least four possible problems with the war-state building relationship. One is that it is too simple. A number of variables could intervene between the war stimulus and the state-building outcome.2 A second possible problem is that the relationship is outdated.3 It may have worked in European history, but, for various reasons, it no longer accurately describes the impact of intensive conflict episodes today—in large part, perhaps, because the wars are not as sufficiently intense as they once were. But, a third possibility is that some types of wars build states while others do not.4 Or, the fourth possibility is that the relationship is entirely spurious. Wars only seem to build state capacity sometimes but the processes that seem most overt only mask more subtle interactions.5

In many respects, these four problems may actually represent one more complicated and encompassing problem: War per se simply does not have a generic, generalizable effect. Sometimes wars build states into stronger organizations than had existed before the war. Other times, they destroy them. In between these two extremes are perhaps many cases in which war participation seems to have little effect. In other words, wars come and go, but the states that fight them remain virtually untouched before and after the combat.

If the war making-state making relationship is too simple, then we need to move beyond this bivariate relationship. This is especially the case if different types of war occur in diverse parts of the world, leading to differential war-state building effects in various regions. Alternatively, since war-making activity has shifted gradually away from Europe, perhaps, the problem is that non-European wars fail to have some ingredient(s) that once characterized European warfare. If so, we need to capture what distinguishes these regions and/or wars theoretically—which is still yet another argument for transforming the bivariate war making-state making relationship into a multivariate one.

The main feature that distinguishes contemporary third world warfare from the older European variety is its mobilization intensity.6 Wars in Europe once were largely ignored by most of the population. Unless armies happened to march through agrarian fields, much of the population might have little direct contact with soldiers. But, indirect pressures on the population gradually increased as desperate states sought revenues to pay for expanding and more expensive combat. As the combat grew in scope and lethality, it became more difficult for the local populace to evade the fighting. By the 20th century, few city dwellers were safe from aerial bombardment. As wars became increasingly total, few members of a population at war could escape some contact with dead and injured relatives, women working in factories, or sundry sacrifices on the home front that insured food, chemicals, and gasoline were committed to the war effort. Total warfare, therefore, was distinguished by the high degree of involvement of entire societies at war. It also entailed a highly competitive escalation in military costs that had to be paid for some way. People and resources were increasingly mobilized as a consequence.

In marked contrast, most contemporary interstate warfare is much more limited in effect and degree of involvement.7 States often make little effort to expand revenue collection for wars that are over relatively quickly. The short time frames make widespread conscription or even civilian shortages unlikely. The battle fronts are reasonably far way in most cases. Much of the population may be aware that war is ongoing but its degree of involvement is considerably less than total.

Thus, it was not European warfare per se or warfare of the 1494–1945 era that was different. Rather, it was the intensity and the growing intensifying impact of escalating warfare over a long period of time that made surviving political organizations stronger than they had been at the outset of this warring states period. Most European political organizations did not survive the destruction. If there were as many as 1000 actors in 1000 CE, only 500 still existed in 1500 CE. By 1945, the number had dwindled to about 30. But, many of the states that remained were much stronger political organizations than the states that had failed to experience a half-millennium of upward spiraling warfare.8 Our main hypothesis, therefore, is this:

States that engage only in relatively limited warfare are less likely to experience positive state-making impacts than states that engage in less limited or total warfare.

What changed in 1945 was the disappearance of unlimited warfare and the norm of limited warfare after World War II ended. Western Europe had taken several centuries to ratchet up its war intensity. Other regions have yet to match the lethal level of hostility generated in what was for a while the central region in the world system. That does not mean that some region might not descend into a similar spiral of violence at some point in the future—only that is has not yet occurred.9

Of course, there are many types of state-making impacts. In this article, we focus exclusively on revenue extraction, which is customarily regarded as the primary avenue to expand state capacity.10 Peacock and Wiseman (1961) established, at least for the United Kingdom, that warfare tends to exhibit a ratchet-like effect on state revenues and spending. Both fiscal activities increase during wartime and then may decrease in the post-war era, but the decrease does not return the extraction level to the pre-war level. Therefore, warfare provides an opportunity to overcome the normal resistance to paying more taxes and decision makers are usually keen to exploit this window of opportunity. If they are involved in a life and death struggle, they have little choice but to mobilize more resources for the fight. In contrast, they face more domestic resistance and fewer options in struggles that are perceived to be less salient. Thus, we expect that step-like expansions of revenue collection should be associated with more intensive warfare.

There are other factors that might also conceivably influence this effect. Although we have some doubts as to whether these factors should have significant impacts for all of the dimensions of war effects, we include them in our empirical analysis. One such factor is the level of economic development. We expect that pre-war economic levels will act as constraints on post-war economic growth (Jaggers, 1992; Van Raemdonck & Diehl, 1989). For instance, less-developed states are more likely to remain less developed after engaging in war. More-developed states may be poorer after war, at least temporarily, but the level of economic complexity is unlikely to be diminished for long.11

War outcomes and regime types are other possible factors. War winners are more likely to experience positive impacts (or avoid negative impacts) than are losers. War losers may have to pay reparations and sustain losses of territory and population. Their governments may also suffer in terms of popularity, legitimacy, and survival (Bueno de Mesquita & Siverson, 1992; Bueno de Mesquita, Smith, & Siverson, 2003; Stein & Russett, 1980). Therefore, it should be more difficult to sustain wartime levels of resource extraction after losing.

As for regime type, Lake (1992) argues that democracies are more capable of extracting increased resources from their populations. If they should lose a war, democracies, in comparison to autocracies, are also more adaptable and unlikely to experience institutional collapse (Jaggers, 1992). Moreover, since democracies would have more legitimacy than autocracies, they would be able to overcome negative post-war environments more successfully. On the other hand, democracies are likely to be more sensitive to voter dissatisfaction and therefore more likely to reduce wartime extraction levels quickly in a post-war era. But, this propensity may be offset by popular demands for more governmental services, especially in welfare—a trend since at least the last quarter of the 19th century. Certainly, one of the reasons why older European states have come to have high revenue extraction levels has been their commitment to welfare spending.

Still another factor to consider is the interaction between regime type and war victory. There has been considerable and ongoing debate as to whether and why democracies tend to win the wars in which they participate (Choi, 2004; Desch, 2002, 2008; Downes, 2009; Jaggers, 1992; Keir & Krebs, 2010; Lake, 1992; Rasler & Thompson, 2005; Reiter & Stam, 2002, 2003).

In sum, although we are less concerned with economic growth than the impacts on state capacity, we are not sure the extent to which economic development levels should constrain expanding state capacity, but we acknowledge that it could. Revenue extraction is certainly more difficult in agrarian and less affluent economies than it is in economies built around industry, trade, and urbanization. Since past research tells us that war outcomes, regime types, and their interaction could also have a significant influence on state capacity, we need to investigate their roles as well. Losing autocracies do have some propensity to experience political instability in a post-war era, which we expect could influence the likelihood of sustaining expanded state power. If democracies are better at winning, extracting revenues, and responding to demands for increased governmental services, we might anticipate that they will be more likely to maintain expanded state size in the aftermath of warfare. It may also be that resistance to increased taxes is greater in democracies (in comparison to autocracies) and that democratic decision makers therefore have a greater incentive to exploit the window of opportunity associated with periods of intensive warfare.

Research Design

Measurement Issues

While there are a number of small N, empirical quantitative studies, and case studies on war impacts, Rasler and Thompson (1985b) demonstrated that among major powers, global wars, because they were more intense and mobilized more people and resources, were far more likely to lead to the expansion of state revenues and spending than were non-global wars.12 But Jaggers (1992) argued that it was necessary to go beyond a dichotomous measure of war type and an overly restricted major power group in order to generalize the argument. He introduced several measures of war mobilization that were found to have a significant and positive impact on state capacity (e.g., revenues per capita)—a finding that included other non-major powers.

Accordingly, we use three indexes of war intensity. One is an adapted version of Jaggers’s scale excluding civil wars (as discussed below). A second is a binary variable for participation in one or both of the world wars in the 20th century, regardless of major power status. The need for this index relates to problems with interpreting war intensity. Is it global wars, as Rasler and Thompson (1985b) contend, that drive observed war impacts, or is that war intensity despite global wars conditions the impact on state capacity? We add a third index, war severity without global war participation, to see if war intensity per se still has an impact when the most severe wars have been removed.

Jaggers’s sample was restricted to 20 European and American participants in 20 interstate wars that were fought between 1815 and 1954. As a consequence, 61% of the cases involved major powers and exactly half of the participation cases were linked to World Wars I and II. Although Jaggers’s study reflects an effort to obtain a more comprehensive and representative sample than one exclusively oriented toward major powers, we believe that we can broaden this 1992 sample even more.

Yet our efforts to broaden the sample are hampered by real limitations on the availability of state revenue data and the necessity of calculating the proportion of state revenues to GDP in order to control for inflationary effects.13 Sarkees and Wayman’s (2010) revised Correlates of War list of interstate wars counts 95 wars and 338 participants between 1816 and 2007. Most of these war participants are not major powers. So, there is potential to expand the spatial and temporal scope of the interstate wars and war participants significantly. Despite constraints of data availability, our empirical investigation below roughly doubles the number of cases and war participants relative to Jaggers’s analysis. More precisely, we look at 40 wars between 1870 and 2007 that involve 39 participants (without geographic restrictions)—85% of which are non-major powers. The World War I and World War II cases present less than 20% of our sample. Obviously, we are still missing a fair amount of data, but the sample is at least becoming more representative.14

Jaggers included 20 civil wars as part of his war N, but we see this as a separate question that requires an independent analysis. For instance, Jaggers assumes that civil wars are least likely to lead to extensive mobilization but that could vary considerably within the civil war pool. If we throw civil wars into the same sample as world wars, any variance within the civil war population is likely to be swamped or marginalized. In general, we would expect few civil wars to be sufficiently intensive to have significant impacts on state expansion. However, previous analyses of this question have produced fairly mixed results. Some analysts (Cohen, Brown, & Organski, 1981; Cunningham & Lemke, 2013) have argued that third world civil wars should have similar effects to old world interstate wars. As we have seen, a number of analysts already reviewed have rejected this type of expectation in the regions in which they specialize but some, most notably Centeno (2002) expect the destruction associated with Latin American civil wars to have negative impacts on state building.

In contrast, Thies (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010; Lu & Thies, 2013) tends to defend the application of bellicist arguments to developing countries but with a number of qualifications. One of them is that civil wars should have mixed effects on tax extraction or relative political capacity.15 States need to expand their capabilities to deal with internal challengers but may also find it more appealing to make deals for lower taxes with some rivals to avoid fighting. Another path to negative effects might be the loss of tax base from separatist territories. In general, Thies finds that the negative relationship between civil wars and state capacity is the most common effect but some evidence for a positive impact for ethnic wars is also reported. Interestingly, Kang and Meernik (2005) and Chen, Loayza, and Reynal-Querol (2008) find that government spending does not tend to increase in the aftermath of civil wars. Spending is not the same as tax extraction or revenues, but one would expect there to be some relationship. Finally, Blattman and Miguel (2010), after reviewing the pertinent economics literature, suggest that there can be no general relationship between civil war and institutional impacts without first specifying what caused the war, how it was fought, and how it ended.

Given the wide mix of findings, it would seem prudent to examine interstate and intrastate warfare separately. While we suspect that most civil wars fall short of the intensity threshold for most intense—more intense internal warfare should impact state building more than less-intense internal warfare—other things being equal. Yet we can also imagine that even intense civil wars do not approximate the intensity of interstate wars and therefore might lead to lesser damage and less statistically significant impacts.

Methodology

We estimate two OLS regression models in order to determine the extent to which involvement in interstate warfare influences increases in state capacity. We hypothesize that interstate war involvement, particularly those that are fought with the greatest intensity, will have a positive effect on increasing state capacity, and we expect this relationship to hold for small and developing states as well as those that are larger and advanced. In addition to estimating the influence of interstate wars, we introduce three additional variables that are thought to influence state capacity in post-war settings: regime type, war outcome, and economic development. Since democracies are thought to be more responsive to demands for post-war reconstruction and to enjoy more legitimacy than are autocracies, we expect that these regimes will recover more quickly from war. Also, past research indicates democracies are likely to win wars that they enter because either their leaders are confident that they can win, or they have greater wealth that can be mobilized in comparison to autocracies, their citizens are more willing to cooperate with wartime extraction, or because they produce more competent soldiers than autocracies (Bueno de Mesquita et al., 2003; Lake, 1992; Reiter & Stam, 2002). While past research also raises questions about these causal justifications, most scholars acknowledge some relationship between regime type and war outcome.

In addition to democracy, we expect that those states that emerge as winners in the post-war environment will see a positive increase in state capacity in comparison to those that lose. Losers are expected to recover more slowly due to greater internal destruction that would make it harder for state leaders to mobilize internal revenues for rebuilding. Also, losers are likely to suffer additional burdens associated with war reparations and disrupted trade relationships—both of which would slow the process of mobilizing revenues. Meanwhile, energy consumption is introduced as a control for the level of economic development since earlier research indicates that poor states are likely to be affected most adversely by war involvement (Van Raemdonck & Diehl, 1989).

We also expect that the number of battle deaths will be positively correlated with the expansion of state capacity and the type of war that is fought. For instance, systemic wars (World Wars I and II) among the major and non-major powers will require states to mobilize extensive and more destructive firepower and military personnel. These types of wars will also result in the highest number of battle deaths. State capacity, therefore, is likely to be increased significantly in the aftermath of these wars in comparison to non-systemic wars that only involve two or more states.

The first ordinary least- squares (OLS) model estimates the influences of democracy, war outcome, war type, and energy consumption. In the second model, an interaction term between democracy and winner is estimated along with the direct additive influences of the remaining variables.

(a) Y1(State Capacity) = β‎0 + β‎(Democracy)t + β‎(Winner)t + β‎(War Type)t + β‎4(Energy)t + ε‎0

(b) Y(State Capacity) = β‎0 + β‎(Democracy)t + β‎(Winner)t + β‎(Democracy x Winner)t +β‎4 War Type)t + β‎5(Energy)t + ε‎0.

We move to a third model to better interpret the war type indicator:

(c) Y (State Capacity) = + (Democracy) + (Winner) + Democracy x Winner) + (World War Participation) + (War Severity) + (Energy)

In addition to interstate wars, we estimate the influence of intrastate war on state capacity. Like interstate wars, we expect that states will expand significantly during and after civil wars as a result of their mobilization efforts to defeat internal rivals. States that win civil wars are likely to expand their bureaucratic institutions to consolidate their control over their territory and deter future uprisings. We also expect that civil wars that result in higher death rates on both the government and insurgent sides of the conflict will be associated with greater levels of internal damage to institutions and infrastructure and will require greater state involvement in civil reconstruction efforts.

Finally, we introduce a variable indicating whether the civil war has become “internationalized” with the participation of external nation-states (Sarkees & Wayman, 2010). We maintain that foreign interventions in civil war are likely to escalate, intensify, and prolong the conflict between internal and external actors. External parties do this through the provision of military and economic aid to either governments or insurgents during the course of the conflict. These wars are likely to be more destructive than non-internationalized cases and require governments to mobilize large amounts of resources during and after the conflict.

The OLS model is as follows:

(d) Y1(State Capacity) = β‎0 + β‎(Winner)t + β‎(Internationalized Civil War)t + β‎3(Battle Deaths)t + β‎4(Energy)t + ε‎0

Variable Measures

State capacity is measured as the size of the 5-year post-war mean minus the 5-year pre-war mean of a state’s revenues/GDP. The difference between the 5-year pre-war mean and the 10-year post-war mean of a state’s revenues/GDP is also estimated. The revenues and GDP data are obtained from Banks Cross-Polity Time Series dataset (Banks, 2011) and are supplemented by data from the Economy Watch Statistics and Indicator Data Base.16

Democracy is a binary variable. States that have a Polity II value of 7 or greater (after subtracting the autocratic score from the democratic score) are coded 1 (democracies) and the remaining states are coded 0 in the year preceding the war. This data can be found in the Polity IV dataset at http://www.systemicpeace.org/polity/polity4.htm.

War winner is also a binary variable. Those states that are winners are coded 1 while all other outcomes are coded 0. This variable is based on the Correlates of War Interstate War dataset (Vol. 4).17

War type is an ordinal variable based on Jaggers’s (1992) measure of the likely link between war type and its impact. While Jaggers established that the values of 1 and 2 applied to civil wars with or without external intervention, he reserved the values of 3 through 6 for interstate wars. In this study, interstate wars with two party conflicts are coded 3; wars with multiparty conflicts are coded 4; global wars with non-major power participants in World Wars I and II are coded 5; and lastly, hegemonic wars with major power participants in World Wars I and II are coded 6. The presumption is that hegemonic and global wars are likely to impact state power more dramatically given their scale, scope, and duration, and the higher levels of resource mobilization required to fight them. As noted, we treat civil wars separately.

World War Participation is another binary variable in which years of involvement in World War I and/or World War II are coded 1 while other years are coded 0. Basically, this collapses the two highest levels of the Jagger scale.

War severity is measured as an interval variable and is based on the battle deaths reported in the Correlates of War dataset for interstate and intrastate wars. The data are logged in the subsequent analysis and can be found online at http://www.correlatesofwar.org. For intrastate wars, battle deaths included deaths for all participants (governmental and nongovernmental actors).

Energy is an interval variable and reflects the level of primary energy consumption in the year before the war started. The data are based on the Correlates of War National Capabilities (Vol. 4) dataset (Singer, 1987) found at http://www.correlatesofwar.org/COW2%20Data/Capabilities/nmc4.htm.

Winner in civil wars is a binary variable and is derived from the “outcome” variable provided in the Correlates of War Intrastate dataset. Outcome is based on seven categories, the first of which is whether the government wins and is coded 1 while all other outcomes were coded 0. In the intrastate war analysis, we coded wars where the government wins as 1 while other outcomes were coded 0. We also calculated an alternative winner variable in which either Side A or Side B won (regardless of whether the government was the sole winner).

Spatial-Temporal Domain

Each country’s involvement in an interstate or intrastate war represents a single case. The list of the cases for both types of war is provided in Appendices A-1 and A-2. Data constraints played a significant role in determining the sample size. Our samples include only those cases in which revenues as a proportion of GDP could be obtained for each war participant. Although revenues by themselves were available for a wider number of war participants, the lack of data availability for gross national product severely constrained our sample size. Since we believe that the presence of war and post-war inflation is likely to overestimate the changes in state revenues in the post-war aftermath, we included only those cases in which we had values for both revenues and GDP in the time period under consideration. Therefore, we have 102 cases for our first dependent variable: the difference between the 5-year pre-war mean and the 5-year post-war mean in revenues/GDP. We have 106 cases for our second dependent variable: the difference between the 5-year pre-war mean and the 10-year post-war mean in revenues/GDP.18

The distribution of the independent and the dependent variables for interstate wars is provided in Table 1. The table below shows that neither democracies, winners nor democracies and winners overly dominate the two samples. Lastly, the average difference between the pre and 5-year post-war means for revenues/GDP (our first dependent variable) is .020 with a range between −.195 and .214 values for 102 cases.19 The average value for the difference between the pre and 10-year post-war means (our second dependent variable) is .023 with a range between -.187 and .218 values for 106 cases. In addition, the frequency of the cases by type of war participation (World Wars I and II) and the 5- and 10-year post-war changes are provided in Table 2. This table shows that for the post 5-year war change dependent variable, 17 of the 102 cases (or 17%) involved World Wars I and II participation. For the 10-year post-war change variable, 20 of the 106 cases (or 19%) involved World Wars I and II participation.

Table 1. Variation of Independent Variables in 5 and 10 Post-War Samples for Interstate Wars

War Making and the Building of State Capacity: Expanding the Bivariate Relationship

Table 2. Frequency of Interstate War Cases by War Type and Post Five & Ten Year Change Periods

Type of Wars

Post 5 Yr. Change

Post 10 Yr. Change

World War I

4

5

World War II

13

15

Non-World War

85

86

Total Cases

102

106

Even though we have reduced the relative number of world war cases, it remains clear that they have a strong influence on war intensity. Table 3 indicates the high intensities associated with the world war cases. Thus, we still may have an interpretation problem if the scaled War Types indicator of intensity is significant. Does it represent intensity across the board or merely the heavy weight of the world war cases? Our strategy will be to examine the war types indicator first. Should it prove significant, we will replace it with the other two intensity indicators (world war participation and war severity) so that we know how best to interpret the finding. If world war participation is significant and war severity is not, we will know that it is only the most intense cases that are driving the outcome.

Table 3. Average Level of Log War Severity Across War Types

War Type 3

War Type 4

War Type 5

War Type 6

7.94

4.31

9.60

13.19

War Type: 3 = Wars between two states; 4 = Wars with multiple states; 5 = World War I/II with non-hegemonic states; 6 = World War I/II with hegemonic states

For intrastate wars, there are even more constraints on the sample size due to the lack of data for both revenues and GDP as well as battle deaths. Our sample consists of 51 cases distributed across five regions, the majority of which are located in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Table 4 provides a frequency distribution of the cases across the key variables and regions. The sample is reduced by 15 cases when the analysis shifts to a longer-term comparison between the pre- and post-war changes in state capacity. An additional 10 cases are lost when we include battle deaths and long-term (10-year) post-war changes in the same regression model.

Table 4. Frequency of Cases and Key Variables for Intrastate Wars

Region

Post 5 Yr. Change

Post 10 Yr. Change

War Severity & Post 5 Yr. Change

War Severity & Post 10 Yr. Change

Western Hemisphere

2

1

2

1

Europe

1

1

1

0

Africa

21

15

11

10

Middle East

9

8

7

6

Asia

18

11

15

9

Total Cases

51

36

36

26

Findings

Tables 5 and 6 report the estimated coefficients for the 5 and 10-year post-war changes in revenues/GDP for interstate wars. Together, the results are quite similar. When democracy, winner, and world war participation are treated as direct additive influences on 5-year post-war changes in state capacity (see Table 5, Model 1), war type emerges as the only statistically significant variable. Possible collinear influences are minimal: War type is weakly correlated with democracy at .15 and moderately correlated with winning war outcome at .35. The control variable for economic development (energy consumption) is statistically insignificant.

In Model 2 (Table 5) we include an interaction term that combines the influence of democracy with war outcome with the variables in the first model. The interaction term is associated with a significant positive influence on increasing post-war state capacity. Curiously, though, the war winner coefficient remains the same (negative) but is now significant, implying perhaps that non-democratic winners are likely to reduce state revenues. War type continues to have a positive significant effect on post-war state capacity.

To better assess what this war type index means, we substitute world war participation and war severity for war type in Model 3 (Table 5). The outcomes for winner and the interaction term combining winner with democracy remain very similar to what is reported in Model 2—significant and negatively and positively signed, respectively. Most importantly, though, world war participation is positive and significant while war severity is not significant. This outcome tells us that the war intensity findings are being driven by world war participation. Without world war participation, fluctuations in war intensity does not lead to lesser or greater state capacity.

Table 5. OLS Estimates of Five Year Post-War Change in Revenues/GDP for Interstate Wars

Model 1

Model 2

Variable

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Constant

.005

.012

.025

.022

Democracy

.022

.015

−.008

.021

Winner

−.008

.015

−.040

.022

Democ x Winner

.056*

.028

World War Participation

.063*

.020

.066*

.026

Log War Severity

−.009

.002

Energy

.000

.000

−.000

.000

Adj.R-square

.094

.114

S.E. of regression

.069

.068

F-statistic

3.620*

3.160*

Prob(F-stat)

.009

.007

Durbin-Watson

2.099

2.066

N=102

Notes:

1. Y Variable in all models is the difference between the 5 year post-war mean and the 5 year pre-war mean in revenues/GDP.

2. World War Participation refers to participation in World War I and/or World War II.

3. Statistical significance:

(**) p<=.005;

(*) p<=.10.

I assume the irregular lines around the data at the top of the table are taken care of when published.

The OLS results for the effects of the independent variables on the 10-year post-war changes in state capacity are provided in Table 6. Given the outcome reported in Table 5, the war intensity focus is placed solely on world war participation and war severity in Table 6. As in the 5-year post-war changes in state capacity, the independent additive influences of democracy and war winners are statistically significant, while world war participation has a strong positive influence (Models 1 and 2, Table 6). The only difference is that war winner is no longer significant.

Table 6. OLS Estimates of Ten Year Post-War Change in Revenues/GDP for Interstate Wars

Model 1

Model 2

Variable

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Constant

.010

.011

.024

.022

Democracy

.011

.015

−.019

.020

Winner

.001

.015

−.034

.022

Democ x Winner

.063*

.028

World War Participation

.054*

.018

.051*

.024

Log War Severity

−.000

.002

Energy

.000

.000

−.000

.000

Adj.R-square

.069

.098

S.E. of regression

.069

.069

F-statistic

2.940*

2.890*

Prob(F-stat)

.024

.012

Durbin-Watson

2.181

2.136

N=106

Notes:

1. Y Variable in all models is the difference between the 10 year post-war mean and the 10 year pre-war mean in revenues/GDP.

2. World War Participation refers to participation in World War I and/or World War II.

3. Statistical significance:

(**) p<=.005;

* p<=.10.

I assume the verbiage lingering in the right hand column gets taken care of when published.

For the 5 year post-estimation phase, the probabilities of these variables are estimated and displayed in the upper half of Table 7. Although the probabilities were estimated for all combinations of the interaction term in Table 5, we display only the statistically significant probabilities associated with cases for democracy alone and cases that have a democracy and winner combination. We do the same for world war participation. Table 7 shows that cases for the combination of democracy and winner are associated with increasing a post-war change in state capacity of 2.5%, while cases of democracy alone are associated with increasing a post-war change of 3%. Meanwhile, those cases associated with world war participation (relative to non-world war participation) are associated with increasing the probability of state capacity by 7.5%. All of the probability estimates are statistically significant.

For the 10-year post-war estimates, the probabilities derived in the post-estimation phase are displayed in the bottom half of Table 7 and are basically similar to the 5-year estimates. The cases for the combined presence of democracy and winner are associated with a probability of increasing post-war state capacity by 4%, while cases for democracy alone are associated with a probability of 1.2%. Cases for world war participation are associated with increasing the probability of state capacity by 6%. All of these probability estimates are statistically significant.

Table 7. Predicted Probabilities for Change in Five and Ten Year Post-War Revenues/GDP Regression Models

Variables

Probabilities

95% Confidence Interval

Five Year Post

War Change1

Model 2 (Table 4)

Democracy x Winner2

.025

.001, .050

Democracy

.034

.009, .059

World War Participation3

.075

.029, .121

Ten Year Post

War Change1

Model 2 (Table 5)

Democracy x Winner2

.041

.015, .067

Democracy

.012

−.016, .040

World War Participation3

.062

.021, .103

Notes:

The five and ten year post-war change in revenues/GDP reflects the difference in the post-war and pre-war means.

Probabilities are estimated for all combinations of democracy & winner values; only estimates for cases for democracy & winner and democracy alone are reported above.

Probabilities are estimated for both values of world war participation; only estimates for world wars cases are reported.

Statistically significant estimates are in bold.

Probabilities derived while all other variables are held at their means.

As for the evidence on the influence of intrastate war on state capacity increases, the empirical findings provide limited support. There is no statistical significance for post-civil war increases in state capacity cases in which the internal government won or where there was an external intervention. However, Table 8 (see Model 4) does show that war severity was significantly related to a 10-year post-war increase in state capacity.

Table 8. OLS Estimates of Five- and Ten-Year Post-War Changes in Revenues/GDP for Intrastate Wars

5-Year Post-War Change

Model 1

5-Year Post-War Change

Model 2

10-Year Post-War Change

Model 3

10-Year Post-War Change

Model 4

Variable

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Constant

.005

.053

−.011

.131

.022

.061

−.202

.124

Winner

−.007

.024

.017

.029

−.027

.031

.015

.029

Internationalized

.022

.028

.002

.036

.031

.038

−.036

.040

Log War Severity

.005

.012

.032*

.012

Log Energy

−.000

.005

−.002

.000

−.000

.006

−.005

.007

Adj.R-square

.000

.000

.043

.119

S.E. of regression

.083

.083

.088

.069

F-statistic

.300

.210

.480

1.850*

Prob(F-stat)

.032

.932

.698

.015

Durbin-Watson

1.377

.895

.480

.826

N

51

36

36

26

Note: Statistical significance:

(**) p<=.05.

These results hold when we also estimated the alternative measure of winner (whether Side A or Side B won in the intrastate war) and the result is essentially the same (see Appendix Table A-3)

Thus, contrary to our initial expectations, civil wars appear to demonstrate a more genuine variation based on war intensity than do interstate wars. In retrospect, perhaps this finding is not so surprising since we are essentially “decapitating” the interstate war intensity indicator when we control war severity with world war participation but not doing the same to the civil war intensity indicator. In both the inter- and intrastate war cases, then, the most severe cases lead to a greater probability of increases in state capacity via enhanced revenue collection.

Conclusion

The straightforward argument that war making is a powerful contributor to expanding state capability has been challenged by its apparent failure to apply widely to third world combat since the end of World War II. While there are a variety of factors that can help explain differential outcomes, our contention is that the basic war making-state making equation is under-specified. It was not simply wars in Europe that led to state expansion and relatively strong states. It was a long period of upwardly spiraling warfare that began around 1494 and peaked in World War II. The survivors of this process possessed stronger states than were the institutions in areas that were able to remain relatively aloof from the intensified conflicts. The evidence herein suggests that the more appropriate specification for the war making-state making relationship is that “intensified wars make stronger states and stronger states make intensified war.” States that engage exclusively in limited warfare are much less likely to experience state expansion or to acquire strong states.20 Limited wars of varying severity, fortunately, have been the most common experience, especially after 1945.

This specification can also be extended to democratic winners, which have had a special affinity for state expansion. Presumably, this finding capitalizes on the outcomes associated with 20th-century, major power warfare. Most of the winners of these particularly intensified bouts of extended combat were democracies. Exactly why democracies are linked to state capacity expansion, however, remains an open question. The possibility that it is a spurious outcome linked to the specific nature of modern European warfare cannot be rejected at this time.

Yet the control for economic development is consistently insignificant, implying that developed and less-developed states function similarly on this dimension. This finding, along with the others, suggests that the fundamental, war making-state making relationship is not restricted in time and space, as is often argued. What is restricted is the intensity of warfare. Most post-1945 interstate warfare has been simply less intense than what appears to be required for significant state-making impact. We think this generalization applies to contemporary civil warfare as well. More intense civil wars tend to yield increases in state capacity in the longer term (10 years). Less intense ones do not. Civil wars, thus, do operate much like interstate wars, at least on this dimension.

Appendix

Appendix A-1. List of COW Interstate War Cases for the Dependent Variables

War Participant

War Name

Post-War 5-Yr. Change Cases (1= included case)

Post-War 10-Yr. Change Cases (1=included case)

Brazil

Lopez

1

1

UK

World War I

1

1

Germany

World War I

0

1

France

World War I

1

1

Italy

World War I

1

1

USA

World War I

1

1

Finland

Estonian Liberation

1

1

Germany

Latvian Liberation

0

1

USSR

Manchurian

1

1

Italy

Conquest of Ethiopia

1

1

USSR

Changkufeng

1

0

Belgium

World War II

1

1

France

World War II

0

1

Finland

World War II

1

1

Norway

World War II

0

1

Canada

World War II

1

1

USA

World War II

1

1

South Africa

World War II

1

1

UK

World War II

1

1

Netherlands

World War II

1

1

Italy

World War II

1

1

Brazil

World War II

1

1

Australia

World War II

1

1

New Zealand

World War II

1

1

USSR

World War II

1

1

Germany

World War II

1

1

Finland

Russo-Finnish

1

1

USSR

Russo-Finnish

0

1

France

Franco-Thai

0

1

Belgium

Korean

1

1

Canada

Korean

1

1

Colombia

Korean

1

1

UK

Korean

1

1

Netherlands

Korean

1

1

France

Korean

1

1

Philippines

Korean

1

1

Australia

Korean

1

1

US

Korean

1

1

Taiwan

Off-shore Islands

1

1

France

Sinai War

1

1

UK

Sinai War

1

1

Egypt

Sinai War

1

1

Israel

Sinai War

1

1

USSR

Soviet Invasion of Hungary

1

1

Taiwan(PRC)

Taiwan Straits

1

1

France

Ifni War

1

1

Spain

Ifni War

1

1

India

Assam

1

1

Pakistan

Second Kashmir

1

1

Syria

Six Day War

1

1

Egypt

Six Day War

1

1

Jordan

Six Day War

1

1

Syria

Six Day War

1

1

Israel

Six Day War

1

1

Egypt

War of Attrition

1

1

Israel

War of Attrition

1

1

US

Vietnam War, Phase 2

1

1

Philippines

Vietnam War, Phase 2

1

1

Australia

Vietnam War, Phase 2

1

1

India

Second Kashmir

1

1

US

Second Laotian, Phase 2

1

1

US

Communist Coalition

1

1

Pakistan

Bangladesh

1

1

India

Bangladesh

1

1

Syria

Yom Kippur War

1

1

Jordan

Yom Kippur War

1

1

Egypt

Yom Kippur War

1

1

Israel

Yom Kippur War

1

1

South Africa

War over Angola

1

1

Ethiopia

Second Ogaden War, Ph 2

1

1

Uganda

Ugandian-Tanzanian

1

1

Tanzania

Ugandian-Tanzanian

1

1

Iran

Iran-Iraq

1

1

UK

Falkland Islands

1

1

Argentina

Falkland Islands

1

1

Syria

War over Lebanon

1

1

Israel

War over Lebanon

1

1

Kuwait

Gulf War

1

1

US

Gulf War

1

1

Canada

Gulf War

1

1

UK

Gulf War

1

1

Italy

Gulf War

1

1

Morocco

Gulf War

1

1

Egypt

Gulf War

1

0

Oman

Gulf War

1

1

France

Gulf War

1

1

Qatar

Gulf War

1

1

Syria

Gulf War

1

1

Croatia

Bosnian Independence

1

1

Peru

Cenepa Valley

1

1

Eritrea

Badme Border

1

1

Ethiopia

Badme Border

1

1

Italy

War for Kosovo

1

1

UK

War for Kosovo

1

1

Netherlands

War for Kosovo

1

1

France

War for Kosovo

1

1

Germany

War for Kosovo

1

1

US

War for Kosovo

1

1

India

Kargil War

1

1

Pakistan

Kargil War

1

1

Canada

Invasion of Afghanistan

1

1

France

Invasion of Afghanistan

1

1

UK

Invasion of Afghanistan

1

1

US

Invasion of Afghanistan

1

1

Australia

Invasion of Afghanistan

1

1

Australia

Invasion of Iraq

1

1

UK

Invasion of Iraq

1

1

US

Invasion of Iraq

1

1

N of Cases

N=102

N=106

Appendix A-2. List of COW Intrastate War Cases for the Dependent Variables

Side A (State) Participant

War Name

Post-War 5-Yr. Change Cases (1= included case)

Post-War 10-Yr. Change Cases (1=included case)

Zaire

First DRC (Zaire)

1

1

Algeria

Algerian Revolution

1

1

Egypt

North Yemen

1

1

Ethiopia

First Ogaden

1

1

Sudan

First South Sudan

1

1

Congo

Second DRC (Jeunesse)

1

1

Congo

Third DRC (Simba) Rebellion

1

1

Uganda

First Uganda

1

1

India

Naxalite Rebellion

1

0

Jordan

Black September

1

1

Pakistan

Pakistan-Bengal

1

1

Sri Lanka

First Sri Lanka-JVP

1

1

Philippines

First Philippine-Moro

1

1

Thailand

Communist Insurgency

1

1

Philippines

Philippines-NPA

1

1

Rhodesia

Rhodesia

1

1

Pakistan

Baluchi Separatists

1

1

Ethiopia

Eritrean War

1

1

Argentina

Argentine Leftists

1

1

Indonesia

Second West Papua

1

1

Ethiopia

Second Ogaden Phase1

1

1

Indonesia

East Timorese War Phase 3

1

1

Ethiopia

Second Ogaden Phase 3

1

1

DRC

Fourth DRC (Shaba)

1

0

Iran

Overthrow of Shah

1

1

Iran

Anti-Khomeini Coalition

1

1

Chad

Second Chad (Habre Revolt)

1

1

Uganda

Second Uganda

1

0

Nigeria

Nigeria-Muslim

1

1

Syria

Hama

1

1

Ethiopia

Tigrean & Eritrean

1

1

Peru

Shining Path

1

0

Zimbabwe

Matabeleland

1

0

Sri Lanka

First Sri Lanka Tamil

1

0

India

Indian Golden Temple

1

1

Turkey

First Turkish Kurds

1

1

Sri Lanka

Second Sri Lanka-JVP

1

1

Chad

Third Chad (Deby Coup)

1

1

Indonesia

First Aceh

1

1

India

Kashmir Insurgents

1

0

Sierra Leone

First Sierra Leone

1

1

Turkey

Second Turkish Kurds

1

0

Croatia

Croatia-Krajina War

1

1

Congo

First Congo (Brazzaville)

1

0

Sierra Leone

Second Sierra Leone

1

0

Congo(Braz)

Second Congo (Brazzaville)

1

0

Indonesia

Second Aceh

1

0

Ethiopia

Oromo Liberation

1

1

Philippines

Second Philippine-Moro

1

0

Philippines

Third Philippine-Moro

1

0

Pakistan

Waziristan

1

0

Appendix A-3. OLS Estimates of Five and Ten Year Post-War Changes in Revenues/GDP for Intrastate Wars (alternative winner measure)

5-Year Post-War Change

Model 1

5-Year Post-War Change

Model 2

10-Year Post War Change

Model 3

10-Year Post War Change

Model 4

Variable

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Coeff.

S.E.E.

Constant

.005

.057

−.000

.131

.035

.066

−.171

.135

Winner

−.005

.027

.005

.030

−.029

.036

−.013

.033

Internationalized

.023

.028

.005

.036

.028

.034

−.030

.038

Log War Severity

.004

.012

.031*

.012

Log Energy

−.001

.005

−.002

.008

−.002

.006

−.006

.008

Adj.R-square

.018

.000

.041

.115

S.E. of regression

.083

.084

.088

.069

F-statistic

.290

.130

.460

1.810*

Prob(F-stat)

.832

.970

.714

.164

Durbin-Watson

1.394

.841

.603

.826

N

51

36

36

26

Notes:

1. Winner variable: coded 1 for victory for either Side A or Side B; 0 otherwise.

(2.) Statistical significance: **p<=.05.

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Notes:

(1.) The literature on what is sometimes called the “bellicist” approach to state making is growing. Some of the first wave of contemporary arguments include Hintze (1975); Tilly (1975, 1985, 1990); and Rasler and Thompson (1983, 1985a, 1985b, 2012; Thompson & Rasler, 1988). A second wave includes Cioffi-Revilla (2000); Thies (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007); Mayhew (2005); Stubbs (2005); and Keir and Krebs (2010).

(2.) Various arguments for multivariate interpretations are found in the literature but they are rarely tested.

(3.) Tilly (1975, 1985) initially thought that his war making-state making argument would no longer work in a third world environment that was more restricted in its warfare than had been the case earlier in Europe. See, as well, Herbst (1990, 2000); Heydemann (2000); Sorenson (2001); Leander (2004); Taylor and Botea (2008); and Thies and Sobek (2010).

(4.) Arguments for focusing on the type of wars fought include Rasler and Thompson (1983, 1985a, 1985b, 1989; Thompson & Rasler, 1999); Jaggers (1992); Centeno (2002, 2003), and Levy and Thompson (2011).

(5.) See, for instance, Spruyt (1994) and Gunn (2010).

(6.) Contemporary global Northern wars fought in the global south fall in between third world warfare and the older European wars. They tend not to involve much mobilization intensity on the part of the global Northern states waging them although, in some cases, the resistance to Northern interventions may take on considerable mobilization intensity at the local level as demonstrated in Vietnam.

(7.) Insurgencies or internal warfare could work differently if they are long run and widespread as in the American Civil War but they are not often both. On limited versus total war impacts, see Rasler and Thompson (1983, 1985a, 1985b, Thompson & Rasler, 1988); Centano (2002); and Levy and Thompson (2011).

(8.) While we do not claim that all of the states that disappeared did so due to warfare (elite marriages contributed as well), half millenniums of escalatory warfare are fairly unique in history (Levy & Thompson, 2011). Perhaps the most comparable period was the “Warring States” era in China in the second half of the first millennium BCE that led to the development of the Han Dynasty Empire.

(9.) The Warring States period of ancient China that preceded the re-emergence of unified empire in the third century BCE is the closest similar phase and with similar outcomes in terms of stronger states.

(10.) Originally, we intended to compare revenues/GDP with relative political capacity (RPC) for civil wars only (because the relative political capacity data are limited to 1960 on) but found that the results with RPC were no different than those using revenues/GDP. Therefore, we do not report the RPC outcome.

(11.) On this issue, see Organski and Kugler (1980), Rasler and Thompson (1985a), and Kugler et al. (2013).

(12.) Thompson and Rasler (1988) examine empirically older cases of major power state building as well.

(13.) Jagger’s capacity measure, revenues per capita, curiously reflects the absence of any attempt to control for inflation, which is generally a problem with serial revenue data but especially so in post-war settings.

(14.) Of course, we could examine all wars and all states for something like the post-1960/70 period, which would be the best way of approaching the problem if it did not exclude the world war cases. We need to trade off country variance for variance in war intensity. While there is considerable missing data, our guess is that the cases without data are unlikely to contradict our findings.

(15.) Relative political capacity is an index designed to compare actual tax extraction with a predicted tax extraction based on economic endowment. For applications, see Kugler and Tammen (2012).

(16.) See Economy Watch Economic Statistics and Indicators Database at http://www.economywatch.com/economic-statistics/.

(17.) Fourteen states were democracies in the year preceding their war involvements, 26 were war winners, and 14 were both democracies and winners. The war data are elaborated in Sarkees and Wayman (2010) and found at http://www.correlates%20of%20war.org/COW2%20Data/WarData-NEW/WarList.NEW.

(18.) The difference in N size is attributable to missing data that were more likely to be missing immediately after a war (for the 5-year estimates) than later (for the 10-year estimates).

(19.) The size of revenues/GDP ratios vary over time and by type of economy or political system. For instance, contemporary affluent states may have high ratios thanks to strong welfare programs. Less-developed states, with some exceptions, tend to have low ratios. But global warfare tended to precede the advent of the strong welfare programs so that a respectable increase in the ratio before 1945 might not be equally respectable in the 21st century. In general, what we are looking for are above average changes, which would imply something higher than 2.3%. This figure does not seem like a high bar to surmount.

(20.) This statement does not imply that warfare is the only possible contributor to state strength. Economic and population growth can also contribute but at a slower pace. It remains to be seen whether other contributors can match the impact of intense, major power warfare.