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Improving Quantitative Studies of International Conflict: A Conjecture

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • Beck, Nathaniel L. (University of California-San Diego)
  • King, Gary (Harvard University)
  • Zeng, Langche (George Washington University and Harvard University)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • National Science Foundation
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • World Health Organization
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. National Institute on Aging
Free Keywords
international conflict; statistical models
  • Abstract

    In this article, the authors address a well-known but infrequently discussed problem in the quantitative study of international conflict: despite immense data collections, prestigious journals, and sophisticated analyses, empirical findings in the literature on international conflict are often unsatisfying. Many statistical results change from article to article and specification to specification. Accurate forecasts are nonexistent. The authors offer a conjecture about one source of this problem: the causes of conflict, theorized to be important but often found to be small or ephemeral in prior research, are indeed tiny for the vast majority of dyads, but they are large, stable, and replicable wherever the ex ante probability of conflict is large. The authors provide a direct test of their conjecture by formulating a statistical model that includes its critical features. The approach, a version of a "neural network" model, uncovers some structural features of international conflict and also functions as an evaluative measure by forecasting. Moreover, it is easy to evaluate whether the neural network model is a statistical improvement over the simpler models commonly used.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Geographic Coverage
  • Global
Collection Mode
  • (1) The file submitted is, which unzips to data and program files that include a readme file. (2) These data are part of ICPSR's Publication-Related Archive and are distributed exactly as they arrived from the data depositor. ICPSR has not checked or processed this material. Users should consult the investigators if further information is desired.

This study is freely available to the general public via web download.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 1218 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 6 | Registration Date: 2015-06-15

Beck, Nathaniel L.; King, Gary; Zeng, Langche (2000): Improving Quantitative Studies of International Conflict: A Conjecture. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.