Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


International Relations

First Advisor's Name

Richard S. Olson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Bernard S. Gerstman

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Kyle Mattes

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member and co-chair

Fourth Advisor's Name

Frank O. Mora

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fifth Advisor's Name

John F. Stack

Fifth Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member


war, complexity theory, complex systems, agent-based modeling, power-law distribution, power transition theory, international relations, strategy, energy production, national material capabilities, military capability, balance of power, hierarchy, hierarchical equilibrium, alliances, balancing, bandwagoning, rank-magnitude distribution, nonlinear distributions, logarithmic distribution, exponential distribution, preferential attachment, cumulative advantage, self-organized criticality, Markov chain, long-cycle theory, hegemonic stability theory, hegemony, unipolarity, behavioralism, structure, structural realism, determinism, deterministic, stochastic, stochastic determinism, complex adaptive systems, attractors, reflexivity, recursion, recursive functions, Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, Epidamnus, Epidamnian affair, Corinth, battle of Sybota, cliodynamics, Lewis Fry Richardson, Quincy Wright, Leo Strauss, causation, causal direction, efficient cause, final cause, Aristotle, teleology, randomness

Date of Defense



Are there physical laws, rather than conventions like diplomacy, that determine when war will break out and how severe it will be? On the eve of World War II, L. F. Richardson discovered a curious pattern: Major wars are rare and minor wars are common to such a predictable degree that the size-frequency offset can be plotted with a straight line. Complex-systems theorists have since confirmed those findings and tested them with computer models. Yet none of the research has fully synthesized this law-like observation with the established theoretical approaches in international relations that would apply, such as power transition theory. This dissertation examines the distribution of nations’ latent war-making capabilities in the form of total energy production and compares it with annual war deaths worldwide, using both real-world and computer-generated data, to fill a significant theoretical gap: What do relative energy production levels tell us, at the systemic level, about the potential use of military force? Is the distribution of material capability self-correcting, and does this explain the tradeoff between the frequency and size of wars?






Matthew Felice is an operations research analyst for United States Africa Command. The views presented here are those of the author, and do not reflect those of the U.S. Government or the U.S. Department of Defense.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Felice_dataset_00_READ_ME.txt (24 kB)
READ ME file

Felice_dataset_01_compiled_RealWorld_primary_energy_production_sort.csv (149 kB)
Compiled energy production data

Felice_dataset_02_compiled_RealWorld_COW_and_UCDP_wars_1900_to_2016.csv (4 kB)
Compiled battle death data

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_01_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 1 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_02_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 2 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_03_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 3 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_04_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 4 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_05_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 5 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_06_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 6 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_07_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 7 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_08_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 8 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_09_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 9 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_17_run_10_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 17 Run 10 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_18_run_01_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (67 kB)
Model 18 Run 1 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_19_run_01_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 19 Run 1 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_20_run_01_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (59 kB)
Model 20 Run 1 output

Felice_dataset_03_Model_21_run_01_NetLogo_command_center_output.csv (58 kB)
Model 21 Run 1 output

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_01_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 1 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_02_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 2 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_03_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 3 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_04_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 4 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_05_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 5 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_06_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 6 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_07_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 7 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_08_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 8 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_09_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 9 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_17_run_10_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 17 Run 10 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_18_run_01_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 18 Run 1 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_19_run_01_energy_prod_transformed.csv (16 kB)
Model 19 Run 1 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_20_run_01_energy_prod_transformed.csv (17 kB)
Model 20 Run 1 transformed

Felice_dataset_04_Model_21_run_01_energy_prod_transformed.csv (15 kB)
Model 21 Run 1 transformed

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_1RealWorld.csv (21 kB)
Fitness real world

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_2RealWorldNxtYr.csv (21 kB)
Fitness real world next year

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run01.csv (15 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 1

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run02.csv (12 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 2

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run03.csv (15 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 3

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run04.csv (15 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 4

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run05.csv (15 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 5

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run06.csv (18 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 6

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run07.csv (14 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 7

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run08.csv (14 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 8

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run09.csv (14 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 9

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod17Run10.csv (15 kB)
Fitness Model 17 Run 10

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod18Run01.csv (16 kB)
Fitness Model 18 Run 1

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod19Run01.csv (17 kB)
Fitness Model 19 Run 1

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod20Run01.csv (17 kB)
Fitness Model 20 Run 1

Felice_dataset_05_Data_distribution_fitness_Mod21Run01.csv (14 kB)
Fitness Model 21 Run 1

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run01.pdf (3700 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 1

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run02.pdf (4567 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 2

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run03.pdf (5794 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 3

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run04.pdf (6245 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 4

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run05.pdf (7058 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 5

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run06.pdf (5647 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 6

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run07.pdf (3848 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 7

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run08.pdf (3378 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 8

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run09.pdf (4038 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 9

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod17Run10.pdf (5905 kB)
Images Model 17 Run 10

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod18Run01.pdf (2782 kB)
Images Model 18 Run 1

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod19Run01.pdf (2580 kB)
Images Model 19 Run 1

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod20Run01.pdf (1492 kB)
Images Model 20 Run 1

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Mod21Run01.pdf (1907 kB)
Images Model 21 Run 1

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Prototype_Tests_Mod01_to_Mod06.pdf (9242 kB)
Images Models 1 to 6 tests

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Prototype_Tests_Mod07_to_Mod16.pdf (6918 kB)
Images Models 7 to 16 tests

Felice_dataset_06_image_files_Prototype_Tests_Mod17.pdf (876 kB)
Images Model 17 test

Felice_dataset_07_source_data_Thucydides_casualties_Rubincam_1991.csv (1 kB)
Peloponnesian War casualties

Felice_dataset_07_source_data_Thucydides_ship_losses_all.csv (12 kB)
Peloponnesian War ship losses

Felice_dataset_07_source_data_Thucydides_ships_Sybota.csv (3 kB)
Battle of Sybota ships deployed



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