Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

David Kimball


Kenneth Thomas


Kenneth Thomas

David Kimball

Brian Fogarty

David Robertson


This study will use three types of multivariate regression analysis to examine the relationship between Grand Strategy Choice and Relative Military and Economic Power. Understanding the effects of the relative distribution of available means on a nation’s choice of grand strategy is important, because if they are significant, it may be possible to predict the behavior of great powers, based on an examination of their available means.

The first model uses a robust logit analysis to look at the effect of a series of lagged independent variables on whether a great power adopts a Pro or Anti Status Quo posture. The second model uses a time series multivariate OLS regression model to analyze the effect of the same independent variables on the Risk of Major War which a great power assumes the following year. The third model combines the first two models by using a robust multinomial logit analysis to examine the effect of the lagged independent variables on the odds of a great power adopting each of the four overarching Grand Strategies the following year.

Taken together the results of the three models indicate that both relative military and economic strength as well as structural variables (including: nation age, government type, primary economic system and others) were statistically significant predictors of grand strategy choice. However, the relationship between the variables and strategy choice is highly complex. For example, in the case of the United States, detailed analysis of the data demonstrates that internal variables work primarily to limit the acceptable strategy choices, while specific strategies are then chosen from the acceptable options based on a country’s strategic position at the time. This interaction is then further complicated during periods of great societal stress, during which policy may shift from the predicted approach for a period of time before snapping back to the predicted approach after several years. In addition, the three statistical models also provide some statistical evidence in support of democratic peace theory, Jarvis’ security dilemma (including the idea of offense - defense balance), as well as Organski and Kugler’s theory of great power conflict.