How Initiators End Their Wars: The Duration of Warfare and the Terms of Peace


  • I thank Neil Beck, Ian Bellany, Kristian Gleditsch, John Freeman, Curt Signorino, Randy Stone, Robert Walker, and Christopher Zorn for valuable comments on previous drafts. I am grateful to Dan Reiter, Allan Stam, Paul Huth, and Jacob Berkovitch for sending me their data. I have also benefitted from the comments of the participants of the 2003 Geography, Conflict, and Cooperation Workshop of the European Consortium for Political Research, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Previous versions of this article were presented at the 2003 annual meetings of the American Political Science Association, Midwest Political Science Association, and the Peace Science Society.

Branislav L. Slantchev is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0521 (


The new theories of endogenous war termination generally predict that initiators would tend to do badly the longer the war, that information acquired during the war would outweigh information available prior to its outbreak, that stronger initiators would be slower to update their estimates about the outcome, and that uncertainty would increase the expected duration of conflict. This article subjects these hypotheses to statistical testing by estimating time-accelerated log-logistic hazard models of duration and bootstrapped ordered probit models of outcome with a new data set of 104 interstate wars from 1816 to 1991. The Monte Carlo simulation results support the hypotheses and the substantive findings provide ample reason for continuing with this research agenda.