The Rationality of War

Why do wars occur? It is tempting (but trivial) to say that wars occur because people are inherently evil. In this unit, we instead seek to explain how perfectly intelligent and war reluctant countries can nevertheless end up in conflict.

These lectures follow my textbook The Rationality of War ($2.99, Amazon). I recommend picking up a copy of it. Most of the core results come from James Fearon’s 1995 article “Rationalist Explanations for War.”