Polarity in International Relations - Measuring The Power Concentration

Measuring The Power Concentration

The Correlates of War uses a systemic concentration of power formula to calculate the polarity of a given great power system. The formula was developed by J. David Singer et al. in 1972.

• Nt = the number of states in the great power system at time t
• Sit = the proportion of power possessed by state i at time t (must be a decimal figure)
S = the proportion of power possessed
i = the state of which the proportion of control over the system's power is being measured
t = the time at which the concentration of resources (i.e. power) is being calculated
• = the sum of the proportion of power possessed by all states in the great power system

The closer the resulting concentration is to zero, the more evenly divided power is. The closer to 1, the more concentrated power is. There is a general but not strict correlation between concentration and polarity. It is rare to find a result over 0.5, but a result between 0.4 and 0.5 usually indicates a unipolar system, while a result between 0.2 and 0.4 usually indicated a bipolar or multipolar system. Concentration can be plotted over time, so that the fluctuations and trends in concentration can be observed.