Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Document Type



The study of major power conflict frequently focuses on the role of the distribution of capabilities. Power transition theory argues that when the dominant state in the international system is overtaken in power capabililities by a dissatisfied challenger, the likelihood of conflict increases significantly. Despite theoretical and empirical support for the power transition theory, it neglects the possibility of increasing power capabilities externally. Alliances and other third parties may enter into a conflict on one side or the other, or remain neutral. A state will necessarily consider the likely actions of other parties before choosing to initiate conflict against its target. This study presents a measure of power that includes such external sources of power. This measure of power, the modified CINC score, is compared to the original Correlates of War CINC score in this study. Two definitions of conflict are employed to test the variables generated from these measures of power. The results indicate that both support the power transition theory. The modified CINC score, although presenting similar results to the basic CINC score, fills the important theoretical gap of the power transition theory in not including external sources of power capabilities. It also eliminates many of the cases in which no conflict occurs despite a basic CINC power transition.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

David Sobek