Expanding Powers, Gender Dynamics and Militarized Interstate Disputes: The Impact of National Material Capability and Gender on Onset and Escalation


Prior literature has claimed that as a state expands into an emerging regional or international power it will display aggressive foreign policy tendencies. This study argues that emerging regional or international powers, with greater levels of national material capability should be expected to exhibit aggressive behavior more frequently and at greater levels. Furthermore, the expectation is that this effect should be attenuated by a normally distributed population and through a greater proportion of women in parliament. By way of contrast, this effect should be enhanced by a greater degree of male population skew and a smaller proportion of women in parliament. Using directed dyads as the unit of analysis, this study examines non-Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) states in the period from 1993 to 2001. The findings indicate a positive relationship between national capabilities and both the initiation and the hostility of militarized interstate disputes. However, the results regarding gender vary, so that while the proportion of women in parliament exhibits a negative relationship with conflict, the percentage of women in a population behave counter to theoretical expectations demonstrating a positive relationship with the conflict variables. This illustrates the complex interaction between national capabilities, gender, and conflict, so that, while national capabilities clearly spur conflict, the mixed results concerning gender illustrate the need for additional research.

Table of Contents: 


    Throughout the past twenty years China has been identified as an emerging power in the world, if not the largest emerging power in the world, experiencing exponential economic growth that is to this day unparalleled. As its economy has grown, China has shown aggressive tendencies that challenge the hierarchy of the international system. In contrast, India has also maintained steady growth over an extended period of time; however, as India’s power has expanded, it has not displayed overly aggressive tendencies.

    China and India are both developing the capacity to surpass current international powers such as the United States both economically and militarily. China appears to display willingness to challenge the international system through belligerent behavior, while India remains ambivalent about the opportunity to gain international or regional hegemony. Contemporary literature on power transition or conflict escalation has not fully addressed emerging economic states and their propensity towards aggressive foreign policy behavior.

    Domestically, India and China have similar domestic policies regarding women. China, infamous for its one child policy, is currently on the brink of a male population skew so extreme that men outnumber women three to one. Similar conditions exist in India, where sex selective abortions are popular, and families generally want more males than females. This gross devaluation of women has future repercussions that have yet to be uncovered. This is not to say that there is a lack of speculation regarding the foreign policies of China and India; to the contrary, contemporary literature (Hudson & Den Boer, 2004; Caprioli, 2007) is saturated with speculation regarding the foreign policies of both, particularly China. Some scholars are convinced that China has ulterior motives to claim jurisdiction over the international system, while others contend that China has no interest in jurisdiction, but rather seeks economic power through a modern form of colonization (Bergsten, 2008; Bijian, 2006).

    Aside from an enduring rivalry with Pakistan and India’s involvement with the Tibetan freedom movement, India is widely known as a neutral power in most interstate crises and conflicts. More recently, India has chosen to abstain from issuing statements regarding the crises and conflicts in Syria and the Ukraine, thereby adopting an isolationist and noninterventionist foreign policy. While some believe that India would be willing to claim regional hegemony and to intervene in disputes such that concerning the South China Sea, there is a significant lack of literature regarding India’s military foreign policy outside of Southeast Asia.

    While only time will reveal the true intentions behind the foreign policy directives of both China and India, both emerging powers provide a basis for analyzing other smaller emerging powers. Do they behave more like China or India in terms of foreign policy? How does an increase in national capabilities affect their foreign policy decisions? As these emerging powers expand their economies and national material capabilities do they become more or less aggressive? Or, is it possible that increased national material capabilities have no impact on the aggressiveness of a state? Is China an aggressive outlier and India a passive one? Where is the middle ground?

    This paper seeks to build upon the literature concerning power transition theory and conflict escalation in order to explain the behavior of emerging economic powers such as China, India, and other states experiencing periods of sustained economic growth. Do emerging economic states display aggressive or belligerent tendencies? What distinguishes among aggressive emerging economic states and pacific ones? Is there a relationship between the growth of a state’s economy to a point of relative parity with its regional hegemony and more aggressive tendencies? In addition to expanding power, how does the valuation of women in society and in decision-making roles affect the likelihood that an emerging power will use force more often and at higher levels? If male population skew fosters more aggressive states, what role do abnormal sex ratios play in the behavior of rising states?

    The next section will address literature on power transition theory and conflict escalation in order to gain a broader understanding of previous research. Following an analysis of existing literature, this study will then discuss domestic gender factors, applying existing power transition, conflict escalation, and gender literature to emerging powers. At that point, I will analyze power transition, conflict escalation, and measure of gender equality to see if there is a relationship between higher national capabilities and a state’s willingness to display aggression in foreign policy decisions. Finally, I will compare national capabilities of states to the percentage of women in a population and in leadership roles such as parliament. This research may allow a broader picture of what might be expected from emerging states in the near future.

    Literature Review

    This discussion of prior literature concerning this project will be organized into three major sections: 1) the first will contain a review of literature addressing the relationship of expanding economic power and national material capabilities to power transition; 2) the second section will assess the literature that discusses dispute initiation and escalation; and 3) the concluding portion addresses theories regarding gender inequality and conflict.

    Power Transition

    Power transition theory defines the international system as a hierarchy containing an international hegemon, the leading world power (Organski & Kugler, 1980). A hegemon sets the status quo of the international system and maintains geopolitical authority through social, economic, and military strength (Lemke, 1993). Hegemony can only be challenged by another state that has a combination of relative economic, political or military parity with the hegemon (Organski, 1968; Organski & Kugler, 1980.  Organski and Kugler (1980) argued that an emerging power would only challenge the existing hegemon when their power was nearly equal to that of the hegemon or when the hegemon was declining socially, economically, or militarily. More recently, scholars have found support for the latter portion of Organski’s theory and have expanded the former. Contemporary literature posits that the possibility of a change occurring within the international hierarchy occurs when the relative power distribution of an emerging state is almost equal or slightly greater than that of the hegemon (Tammen, 2008; Lemke & Reed, 1996; Lemke & Werner, 1996; Rapkin & Thompson, 2003.

    Initially, power transition theory was criticized for its lack of generalizability, however later literature has addressed this criticism, arguing against the single international hierarchy and claiming instead that there are many separate hierarchies housed within the international system (Lemke, 1993). According to this argument, each hierarchy contains a regional hegemon with its own emerging regional powers that might challenge their subsystem, but may not be willing to challenge a separate regional hierarchy or the international system as a whole. Lemke’s argument revitalized power transition literature, proving that it had potential to apply to more than the international hegemony (DiCicco & Levy, 1999). This extension of power transition literature from one international hegemon to regional hegemonies allows this project to focus on emerging regional powers and to evaluate their aggressive tendencies.

    Additional criticism for power transition is that economic interdependence prevents states from attempting power shifts. Such arguments claim that any attempts would be too risky and would threaten interstate relations and trade. This criticism stems from arguments that democratic peace and globalization will produce peaceful interactions between states, lessening the likelihood that a state will challenge a regional or international system (Copeland, 1996). Scholars such as Barbieri (1996) have criticized this argument, however, claiming that economic interdependence only deters power shifts when states have a symbiotic economic relationship with one another. Additionally, further criticisms regarding interdependence and liberal peace suggest economic interdependence is not a sufficient deterrent if an emerging power has the capability, opportunity, and willingness to shift the power structure within a regional system or the wider international system (Gartzke, Li, & Boehmer, 2001; Mansfield & Pollins, 2001).

    Emerging powers that have capability, opportunity, and willingness to challenge the present hegemon can be considered challengers to the international system. Generally, these states will display aggressive foreign policy towards states within their system. This is illustrated by the presence of military expansion, nuclear armament, increased amounts of territorial disputes, and higher levels of escalation (Starr, 1978; Bueno De Mesquita, Morrow, & Zorick, 1997).

    Emerging powers are characterized by expanding economies and higher levels of national material capabilities. Relative power parity affords a state the capability to challenge the hegemon economically, militarily and politically. However, in addition to relative power, an emerging state must have both the opportunity and willingness to dispute the preeminence of the hegemon. Emerging powers derive the opportunity to surpass the current hegemon as their national material capabilities increase. Greater levels of national material capability translate to stronger militaries, higher economic status, and rapport within their region and the international system (Siverson & Starr, 1991). However, as stated above, even though a state has the opportunity to transition power roles within a system, it does not follow necessarily that it will. In order for an emerging state to actively compete with a hegemon it must also be willing to do so. Willingness stems from a variety of sources, but perhaps the most salient factors identified in the power transition literature are latent grievances stemming from dissatisfaction with the status quo, territorial disputes, and crises (Starr, 1978).

    So far, this literature review has focused on power transition theory, which is concerned with instances where an emerging power may challenge a regional or international hegemon; however, power transition theory operates at a systemic level and generally fails to discuss why an emerging state will choose to initiate or escalate a dispute with a regional or international hegemon. The following section discusses the various reasons that states, particularly emerging powers, initiate and escalate conflict. The following subsection contains a comprehensive discussion of these factors.

    Militarized Interstate Disputes - Initiation and Escalation

    The literature on international conflict encompasses a broad spectrum of topics including rivalries, enduring rivalries, militarized interstate disputes, protracted conflicts, and crises. Each form of conflict is sufficiently unique enough to be considered independently from one another. For example: crises and protracted conflicts carry different implications, as crises can be shorter relative to protracted conflicts but don’t always necessarily begin quickly. For the purposes of this paper, militarized interstate disputes will be examined because they have varied levels of intensity and can exist over a period of time (Morgan, 1990). Militarized interstate disputes, referred to as MIDs hereafter, are interactions between states which display or threaten to display military force (Small & Singer, 1982). In order to qualify as a militarized interstate dispute, the interactions must be “explicit, overt, non-accidental, and government sanctioned” (Siverson & Tennefoss, 1982).

    Extensive literature exists regarding the factors that condition the initiation of disputes. Alliances, for example, tend to lead to a lower number of interstate disputes, while contiguity is more likely to produce disputes between states (Siverson & Tennefoss, 1982; Moul, 1988). States are more likely to initiate conflict if they are a major power or are supported by an emerging power and less likely to initiate a dispute if they lack relative parity with a major power or lack support from another major power (Siverson & Starr, 1991). States are also more likely to initiate disputes when operating under parabellum, which means (Wallace, 1980). Democracies are also less likely to initiate disputes with other democracies. Theories discussing democratic, liberal and Kantian peace suggest that it is in a state’s best interest to seek peace.

    Three theories have dominated work in this area:  first, several authors contend that economic interdependence promotes peaceful interstate relations (Gartzke et al., 2001; Polachek, 1997; Oneal & Russett, 2001); second, Barbieri (1996) has argued the opposite, namely that economic interdependence promotes increased conflict between states, and, third, Waltz (1970) has suggested that economic interdependence has no effect on interstate relations.

    The two preceding sections have discussed power transition, which deals with state interactions at the systemic level, and literature regarding militarized interstate dispute initiation and escalation between two states. The following section will discuss gender inequality, male population skew, and a state’s tendency to display aggression.

    Gender and Inequality

    Contemporary literature claims that domestic factors like economic status, employment, and public opinion have an important impact on the foreign policy behavior of states. One component of these domestic factors is the equality and value of women in society. Existing literature takes into account the effect that the inequality and underrepresentation of women has on intrastate conflict; however, there is not much literature on the effect that male preference and gender inequality has on the foreign policy of emerging powers.

    There is little disagreement between scholars that gender inequality contributes to violent societies (Hudson, 2012). Existing literature claims that as gender equality increases, so does domestic peace. These ideas also apply to interstate peace, as well (Caprioli, 2003). Arguments have also been presented regarding the percentage of women in society and its relationship to conflict. Hudson and Den Boer (2004) argue that the normal ratio of males to females is about 100:105. In societies where males are valued disproportionally, the ratio can be as disparate as 100:120 women to men. This argument is often used in reference to South East Asian states such as China and India who have major male population skews and are generally known to prefer males to females, especially in birth but also in government positions, parliaments, and the private sector.

    Additional research claims that as there are fewer women in society, there are fewer men that have the chance to marry. This argument asserts that men who are married and have families will have a higher investment in law and order within society and will tend to display higher levels of pacific behavior (Hudson & Den Boer, 2004). Additionally, this argument claims that men in a population who remain unmarried and without families will have a lower investment in the law and order of their society. In populations with imbalanced sex distributions, wealthy and educated men are likely to marry first, leaving less educated and less wealthy men without wives. Mazur and Michalek (1998) demonstrate that while marriage and the ability to establish a home doesn’t necessarily mean men will become “protectors of society,” it has indicated lower levels of violence and aggression within men.


    This project builds upon seminal theories in the international relations literature such as power transition and conflict escalation, linking theories of international hegemonic transition with regional power transition of contemporary emerging economic states. Power transition theory (Organski, 1968) asserts that one state within the international system will have significant authority while regional power transition theory (Lemke, 1993) suggests that there are multiple hierarchies within the international system. Each hierarchy houses a regional power that will retain authority until a discontented challenger achieves relative parity and attempts to shift the status quo.

    This project embraces these theories, which claim that challengers will display commitment to changing the status quo when they have both the opportunity and willingness to do so (Starr, 1978). This theory assumes that emerging economic states have the opportunity to challenge the status quo through increased economic and military capabilities. I suggest that states with rapidly emerging economic power have the capability and, potentially, the willingness (Starr, 1978) to challenge the regional status quo. Willingness to challenge the international system is most likely to occur when dissatisfaction with the international system is coupled with male population skew and gender inequality. As illustrated above, states with less normal population skews that favor males are prone to increased aggressive behavior. These aggressive tendencies are aggravated by a disproportionate ratio of males to females as represented in parliament. These factors, including dissatisfaction, uneven population distribution, and fewer women in parliament, all contribute to an emerging economic state’s willingness to challenge the status quo. Additionally, willingness to challenge the status quo will very likely result in a state’s willingness to escalate conflict, primarily when there are latent grievances such as pre-existing territorial disputes (Starr, 1978). As power transition and crisis escalation theories suggest, economic growth affords emerging states with the necessary opportunities and capabilities to challenge the regional system in which they exist. As Bueno De Mesquita et al. (1997) argue, states exhibit aggressive foreign policy behavior for two primary reasons: in order to determine the opportunities and capabilities of their adversaries, or to assert their willingness to challenge the system. This concept is applicable to emerging economic states, which may feel the need to determine the likelihood that they will be able to challenge successfully a regional status quo. In these instances, a state will be more likely to initiate militarized interstate disputes and will escalate these disputes to higher levels. This leads to the first two hypotheses:

    H1A: Greater levels of national capabilities should be associated with a greater likelihood of the initiation of a militarized interstate dispute.

    H1B: Greater levels of national capabilities should be associated with militarized interstate disputes with greater levels of hostility.

    National material capabilities account for several characteristics within states, including demographic, economic, and military indicators. As an emerging power continues to grow, domestic factors will have a significant impact on a state’s interstate relations. Various combinations of domestic indicators will likely produce diverse foreign policy behavior. An emerging nation that is dissatisfied with the regional status quo and that has gender inequality, which fosters aggression in society, will be more likely to display aggressive behavior through conflict initiation.

    Economic growth is not the only factor that accounts for greater levels of national material capabilities or the initiation of conflict. Domestic factors have a considerable effect on the foreign policy decision-making of emerging states. States may assume more or less aggressive roles as a result of different domestic factors. For the purpose of this paper, gender inequality is considered as a primary domestic indicator of interstate conflict. Gender issues such as male preference, i.e., preferring male births over female births, and underrepresentation of women often result in lower percentages of women in a population and smaller proportions of women in public decision-making roles. Previous studies have found that disparity between men and women predisposes societies to violence through civil conflict and other means (Hudson & Den Boer, 2002, 2004; Hudson, 2012; Melander, 2005; Caprioli, 2000). If a society has a propensity towards violence, it will likely be exacerbated by population skews in favor of men and by fewer women in parliament. These factors may lead to more militarized interstate disputes, at higher levels of hostility. This leads to the next series of hypotheses:

    H2A:  A higher proportion of women in parliament should be associated with a lower likelihood of the initiation of a militarized interstate dispute.

    H2B: A higher proportion of women in parliament should be associated with militarized interstate disputes with lower levels of hostility.

    H3A: A higher proportion of women in society should be associated with a lower likelihood of the initiation of a militarized interstate dispute.

    H3B: A higher proportion of women in society should be associated with militarized interstate disputes with lower levels of hostility.

    These hypotheses rest on two theoretical arguments. When gender inequality exists due to   preference for male children, which is primarily measured through a male population skew, there will be men for whom there are no marriage partners. These men, usually less educated with lower incomes, will have fewer investments in society and will be more prone to belligerent behavior (Hudson & Den Boer, 2002). In such instances, a government may endeavor to regulate domestic belligerence by funneling higher numbers of men into the military, where belligerent behavior can be directed towards pursuits such as territorial disputes and conflicts. The second argument is that higher percentages of women in a population have a pacifying effect on society. This argument is fairly intuitive and accepted by the majority of existing work; however, the root of passivity is a topic of contention throughout feminist literature. In fact, two arguments exist regarding the root of women’s passivity but are outside the scope of this paper. These two schools of feminist thought include the constructivist and essentialist arguments regarding gender roles. The constructivist argument claims that gender roles, such as passivity displayed more commonly among women, are a result of social constructs. The essentialist argument dissents and claims instead that men and women have inherent biological differences.

    Research Design

    This section will specify how the hypotheses listed above will be tested. First, I will identify my sample as well as my temporal and spatial domain. Second, I will discuss the operationalization of the dependent and independent variables as well as my control variables. Third, I will outline and explain the methods of analysis that will be used to test my hypotheses.


    The temporal domain of this project is 1993 to 2001. First, I chose this time frame because the project is evaluating and measuring contemporary, emerging economic powers. Thus, a post-Cold War timeframe will produce an accurate representation of contemporary emerging states.  Second, the dataset includes directed-dyadic militarized interstate dispute (MIDs) data from the Correlates of War (COW) project and currently, the MIDs dyadic data only covers the 1991 to 2001 timeframe.

    The unit of analysis for this project is directed dyad-year, thus taking into account the interaction of every recognized state with every other state for every year within the bounds of my temporal timeframe. In order to compile the large universe of cases needed for directed dyadic comparison, I utilized EUGene (Expected Utility Generation data management software), which allowed for the compilation of a dataset with a sample size of around 300,000 observations.

    The primary focus of this project will be non-OECD states. This decision is based on the theoretical framework that emerging economic powers will behave differently than emerged, developed powers. Generally, OECD states are considered to be developed powers while non-OECD states are generally emerging or developing powers. I expect that developing states will act differently than developed states as their increasing national capabilities afford them the opportunity to challenge the status quo, whereas developed states already claim regional and sometimes international hegemony or are satisfied with the system as it stands. Evaluating the differences between states with different levels of economic growth and national capability will provide insight as to the actions of emerging versus developed states.


    The first dependent variable is the onset of militarized interstate disputes (MIDs). Onset is coded as a 0 or a 1, indicating whether country one initiated a militarized interstate dispute with country two (1) or not (0). The second dependent variable is the hostility level of the militarized interstate dispute, if one occurs. The Correlates of War project codes Hostility levels from 1-5, [1 – no military action, 2 – threat to use force, 3 – display of force, 4 – use of force, 5 – war]. Two separate analyses evaluate whether or not the independent variables explain the onset and severity of militarized interstate disputes.

    This project will include three primary explanatory variables; the first is National capability. National capability is taken directly from the Correlates of War project, and is sometimes referred to as a state’s CINC score. National material capabilities (CINCs) are a composite measure of economic, military, and demographic strength, which have six distinct variables. These variables are annual values for the total population of a state, the urban population of a state, iron and steel production and output, energy consumption, military personnel, and military expenditures.

    The second independent variable, taken from the World Bank, is the percentage of women in a population, which measures the percentage of women in a population and indicates whether or not the population’s sex ratio is skewed. Normal distribution of a population is between 47.7%-52.9% women. Fewer women within a population suggest son preference and subsequently, gender inequality. The third explanatory variable is the proportion of women in parliament, which is the percentage of women to men in either the lower or single house of a state’s parliament or congress. Taken from the Inter-Parliamentary Union, this measure examines the empowerment of women, meaning their role in political decision-making from 1993 onward. More women in parliament suggests higher levels of gender equality and influence within society and the government.  

    This project includes three control variables: First, gross national income is used to distinguish between high-income and low-income countries based on the OECD’s definition of each for the year 1993 which is the first year of this project. For this timeframe the OECD included states with gross national income per capita at $8,625 (U.S. dollars). This variable will be used to determine non-OECD states for the temporal domain of this project. Second, major power status determines whether or not country one initiated or escalated a conflict with a major power. This variable is from the Correlates of War project and is coded in a binary fashion as a 1 or 0. Determining the major power status of the second state, the defender, adds valuable insight into why a state may or may not initiate a dispute with another state. If an emerging power initiates a militarized interstate dispute with a major power, this suggests that the emerging state is experiencing dissatisfaction with the international or regional status quo. Dissatisfaction, as discussed above, results in willingness to challenge the status quo of a system. Thus, an emerging state that challenges a major power is displaying willingness to use its expanding national material capabilities to challenge the international or regional hegemon. The third control variable is Polity IV; this measure is taken from the Center for Systemic Peace and measures the political regime characteristics of all states within the temporal domain of this project. Polity IV will determine whether or not country one (challenger) is democratic or other, thereby allowing an explanation of a state’s propensity toward or against initiation of hostility.

    Analytical Techniques

    I will be implementing two forms of statistical analysis, logistic regression and ordered logistic regression. Logistic regression was chosen for militarized interstate dispute initiation because it is a binary measure, while ordered logistical regression will allow me to measure the intensity of militarized interstate dispute escalation as it is an ordinal measure.


    The results of the logistical and ordered logistical models presented in Table 1, which looked at non-OECD states supported hypothesis H1 H1A: greater levels of national capability will result in a greater likelihood of militarized interstate dispute initiation and H1B:  greater levels of national capability will result in higher levels of militarized interstate dispute escalation. Models 1 and 2 show that national capability is highly significant in the initiation of conflict. It is interesting that gross national income was not significant, but even more so that it had no relationship or effect whatsoever.

    Analysis was also consistent with H2H2A: higher levels of women in parliament are associated with lower levels of militarized interstate dispute initiation; and H2B: higher levels of women in parliament are associated with militarized interstate disputes with lower levels of hostility. Models 1 and 2 reveal that women in parliament have a significantly negative effect on both the initiation and level of hostility reached throughout a militarized interstate dispute. Put simply, more women in parliament results in less belligerent foreign policy behavior.

    Surprisingly, however, the results did not support H3 higher levels of women in society are associated with lower levels of militarized interstate dispute initiation; and H3B: higher levels of women in society are associated with militarized interstate disputes with lower levels of hostility. These results were quite confounding. Models 1 and 2 indicated that the levels of women in a society have a positive and significant relationship with the initiation and escalation of militarized interstate disputes.


    The findings for hypotheses H1 and H2 are both consistent with the power transition literature, which suggest that as a state grows economically and achieves relative parity with a regional or international hegemon it will gain the capability to challenge the status quo. The theoretical expectation of this project is that as a state gains capability, it also gains the opportunity to challenge the international or regional status quo through higher levels of national material capability. Willingness, for the purpose of this project, is derived from dissatisfaction with the international or regional status quo and domestic dynamics of gender inequality and population skew. These concepts are captured here through proportion of women in parliament and percentage of women in society. Gender inequality should add to the propensity towards militarized interstate dispute onset while gender equality should reduce the likelihood of onset.

    Ultimately, both models show that while the national capabilities of an emerging state combined with higher levels of women in parliament are consistent with the idea that higher proportions of women in parliament attenuate the aggressive nature of a state, the same is not true for the percentage of women in the population. These findings illustrate the need for further exploration of this topic, considering the existing literature claims that male population skew, especially in China and India, results in a more belligerent society (Hudson & Den Boer, 2004). However, my findings are consistent with literature by Erik Melander (2005) and Mary Caprioli (2007) who use Uppsala data to measure the equality of women in a state. Their findings also determine that as men and women are more equal, civil conflict onset is less likely to occur.

    Many explanations may account for these counterintuitive findings. First, perhaps the dyadic unit of analysis contrasted with historical data and time-series analysis and produced variations in results. Another possible explanation is that emerging powers that are rapidly growing sometimes have large numbers of women joining the workforce. This influx of women into the workforce may also significantly impact gender roles as more women find jobs in factories and such. This situation creates different dynamics that may lead to tensions that may not have previously existed. These social tensions might then lead to belligerent foreign policy behavior and perhaps more incidences of militarized interstate disputes at higher levels.

    Policy Implications and Future Research

    This project has revealed a number of interesting insights. First, emerging powers will show higher levels of aggression when combined with greater levels of national material capability, which supports existing power transition literature. Second, women mitigate the aggressiveness of a state when they have active roles in parliament. This confirms earlier work, adding that the political roles of women influence the degree to which an emerging power displays aggressive characteristics. Third, the percentage of women in society has a positive relationship with the likelihood and the intensity of militarized interstate disputes. This means that populations that have more normal sex ratio distributions are more belligerent than those with male skewed populations. These findings run counter to the argument regarding son preference made by Hudson, Melander, and others and warrant additional investigation to gain a greater understanding of the relationship between gender and conflict.

    Additionally, due to temporal time constraints, the data for this project was confined to the time period from 1993 to 2001. Future research should expand this time frame to 2007 pending the release of the next version of the MIDs dyadic level data. At that time, additional independent variables should be added to the dataset in order to better understand gender inequality and its relationship to militarized interstate dispute initiation and escalation. These variables might include: quota measures for women in parliament, women in upper management, female literacy rate, female mortality rate, and women’s age at first marriage.

    An extension of this project would include interaction variables to identify the multiplicative effect of national material capabilities and women’s equality on dispute initiation and escalation. Additionally, measures of growth should be incorporated to determine the impacts of national capability and gross national income growth rates over time as they better capture the characteristics of interest of emerging states. Another interesting avenue for future research would examine the relationship between moderate and rapid economic growth on foreign policy decisions to answer the question of whether faster growing states display more aggressive tendencies than slow or moderately growing states.

    These extensions to this project may also offer more insight into the relationship between women in a population and the likelihood and intensity of militarized interstate disputes. However, future research could also lend support to the finding that while women in parliament are critical components of the likelihood of interstate conflict, women in society are not as important. This could be due to the idea that a state with existing grievances with another state will initiate and escalate conflict regardless of whether or not there is a male population skew. It could be that women that are involved in foreign policy decisions are influential but women in society at large have no impact on decisions to initiate militarized interstate disputes.

    This paper has demonstrated that in some contexts women are important determinants of militarized interstate dispute initiation and escalation for emerging regional and international powers. Overall, this project has produced some interesting findings that appear counterintuitive to previous literature and warrant additional attention from scholars in the future.


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    Table 1: Models 1 and 2 for Non-OECD States

    Model 1: Initiation of Militarized Interstate Disputes (non-OECD States)

    Model 2: Hostility of Militarized Interstate Disputes (non-OECD States)