International Relations, Modeling

Some Quick Thoughts on Economics in International Relations Theory

The other day I was reviewing some of the older literature on international politics and relations. From the vantage point of a few of decades, the injection of economics into international relations and its influence is obvious. The major debates that largely pivoted around Ken Waltz’s neorealism and Robert Keohane’s neoliberalism essentially reflected alternative applications of models and methods imported from economics, perhaps most brilliantly exemplified by Keohane’s adaptation of Akerlof’s market for lemons in order to argue for the importance of institutions (or regimes as he defined them in After Hegemony).

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Analysis, International Relations, Modeling, Science

Can International Relations Theories be Empirically Tested?

It’s been several weeks since my last posting examining. Over that time, I’ve been working towards the completion of a project that has taken a significant chunk of my time and forced me to think about the use of ABM in the study of international relations. In doing so, I’ve begun to explore the philosophy of science and the extent to which theories of international relations are really amenable to empirical testing.

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International Relations, Modeling, National Security, Politics, Science

The Use and Abuse of Models in International Security

Some days just appear to have a theme that constantly nags or colors everything that happens. It happens that yesterday was one of those days for me. I’m in the process of finishing up a project and I need to complete a book chapter on the validation of ABM based analysis for national security analysis. Importantly, the issue is less about the validation of the models themselves, and more concerned with whether or not analysts can use models for responsible inferences in support of decisionmaking. It also happened that the director of the Krasnow Institute where I work posted this on his own blog, and I came across this older piece in on the Wired website regarding some DARPA work that I’m familiar with. To add just a small piece more, a former government senior executive came to speak to my department yesterday about the challenges of ‘wicked problems’ in government, particularly in the design, development, and employment of new technologies and the difficulty of getting to work with the social structure of the government (building a new widget was rarely the difficult part).

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International Relations, Modeling

Rock-Paper-Scissors and Arms Races Part 4

It has been a while, but I’m going to return to the Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) model that I started developing several weeks ago. This posting looks at the mechanics of of adding geography to the model, while a future posting will actually run the geographic version of the model—this posting is essentially a bridge between model assessments. Having already established that the agent-based framework can replicate the behavior of the equation based model, modifications to the ABM can add new features and relax assumptions embedded in the mathematical formalism, allowing for explorations that are increasingly relevant to the international system.

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