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International Crisis Behavior Project, 1918-2004

Resource Type
Dataset : aggregate/transaction data
  • Brecher, Michael (McGill University)
  • Wilkenfeld, Jonathan (University of Maryland)
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Free Keywords
conflict; crisis management; foreign policy; international alliances; international conflict; international organizations; international relations; militarism; military intervention; war; world problems
  • Abstract

    This data collection was produced as part of the International Crisis Behavior Project, a research effort aimed at investigating 20th-century interstate crises and the behavior of states under externally generated stress. To this end, the data describe, over a 86-year period, the sources, processes, and outcomes of all military-security crises involving states. Variables were collected at both the micro/state actor level and the macro/international system level. At the macro level, seven dimensions of crisis were measured: crisis setting, crisis breakpoint-exitpoint, crisis management technique, great power/superpower activity, international organization involvement, crisis outcome, and crisis severity. Additional macro-level variables indicate various aspects of geography, polarity, system level, conflict type, power discrepancy, and involvement by powers. At the state actor level, variables measuring five dimensions of crisis were compiled: crisis trigger, state actor behavior, great power/superpower activity, international organization involvement, and crisis outcome. Additional micro-level variables indicate the role of war in each crisis. Others measure several kinds of state attributes: age, territory, regime characteristics, state capability, state values, and social, economic, and political conditions.
  • Table of Contents


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: International Crises
    • DS2: Crisis Actors
Temporal Coverage
  • 1917-12-22 / 2004-12-31
    Time period: 1917-12-22--2004-12-31
  • 1977 / 2004
    Collection date: 1977--2004
Geographic Coverage
  • Global
Sampled Universe
Part 1: All international crises occurring between December 22, 1917, and December 31, 2004, characterized by the following two conditions: (1) a distortion in the type and an increase in the intensity of disruptive interactions between two or more adversaries, with an accompanying high probability of military hostilities, or, during a war, an adverse change in the military balance, and (2) a challenge to the existing structure of an international system -- global, dominant, or subsystem -- posed by the higher-than-normal conflictual interactions. Part 2: All foreign policy crises experienced by states due to their involvement in the international crises defined above. The principal investigators define a foreign policy crisis as a situation in which three conditions, deriving from a change in a state's external or internal environment, are perceived by the highest-level decision-makers of the state: (a) a threat to basic values, (b) an awareness of finite time for response to the external threat to basic values, and (c) a high probability of involvement in military hostilities.
Collection Mode
  • (1) The two parts of this collection are linked by common identification numbers. The unit of observation for Part 1, which contains the macro-level data, is the international crisis. The unit of observation for Part 2, which contains the micro-level data, is the crisis actors involved. In all, the data cover 445 international crises involving 979 state actors. Both parts include non-numeric data. (2) A full description of the datasets, coding procedures, case summaries, and analyses are contained in Michael Brecher and Jonathan Wilkenfeld, A STUDY OF CRISIS, Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000. as well as the study Web site, (3) Data for two cases in an ongoing/interim category, Iran Nuclear and North Korea Nuclear, were coded as pending. Coding is anticipated to be completed in the coming year.

2007-12-14 Crises for 2004 have been added to the dataset. These new crises are DRC-Rwanda (#444) and South Ossetia/Abkhazia (#445). For international crises, the GLOBACTM and GLOBEFAC variables now include an additional category for cases in which the global organization authorized the use of military force by members to enforce resolutions. This change also affects the actor level variable GLOBACT. Two potential protracted conflicts are on the watch list: DRC/Rwanda, and Georgia/Russia. We are currently evaluating the crises involving these pairs of states, and a definitive decision will be made by the next release. Two cases are in an ongoing/interim category: Iran Nuclear (2002) and North Korea Nuclear. These cases, each of which probably includes several crises, are expected to be coded during the coming year. As was the case with past releases of the ICB datasets, a number of minor coding changes have been made in earlier cases.2006-05-15 Six new cases have been added for 2002 as well as the data producers's new coding changes. Also, a new set of 15 variables addressing the mediation of international crises has been added.2004-05-13 The codebooks and SAS and SPSS data definition statements have been revised to reflect the data producer's new coding for the mediation variable at the international system level and minor corrections to several other variables.2003-05-16 New data for the years 1995-2001 were added, and the codebooks were replaced.1998-02-10 New data for the years 1989-1994 were added, and the codebooks were replaced. Also, SPSS export files were added to the collection.
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 9286 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR09286.v2
  • Miller, Ross A.. You’ve got to know when to fold ‘em: International and Domestic Consequences of Capitulation, 1919–1999. International Interactions.2015.
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  • Gelpi, Christopher F., Griesdorf, Michael. Winners or losers? Democracies in international crisis, 1918-94. American Political Science Review.95, (3), 633-647.2001.
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  • Ben-Yehuda, Hemda. Opportunity crises: Framework and findings, 1918-1994. Conflict Management and Peace Science.17, (1), 69-102.1999.
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  • Coletta, Damon. The power of security doctrine over the use of force in international crises. Dissertation, Duke University. 1999.
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  • Hewitt, J. Joseph, Wilkenfeld, Jonathan. One-sided crises in the international system. Journal of Peace Research.36, (3), 309-323.1999.
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  • Partell, Peter J., Palmer, Glenn. Audience Costs and Interstate Cirses: An Empirical Assessment of Fearon's Model of Dispute Outcomes. International Studies Quarterly.43, (2), 389-405.1999.
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  • Prins, Brandon Christopher. The politics of conflict resolution: Evaluating the determinants of American third-party interventions, 1918-1994. Dissertation, Michigan State University. 1999.
  • Wolf, AaronT.. 'Water wars' and water reality: Conflict and cooperation along international waterways. Environmental Change, Adaptation, and Human Security.Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic. 1999.
  • Ben-Yehuda, Hemda, Sandler, Shmuel. Crisis Magnitude and Interstate Conflict: Changes in the Arab-Israel Dispute. Journal of Peace Research.35, (1), 83-109.1998.
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  • Carment, David, James, Patrick. The United Nations at 50: Managing Ethnic Crises - Past and Present. Journal of Peace Research.35, (1), 61-82.1998.
    • ID: 10.1177/0022343398035001005 (DOI)
  • Rioux, Jean-Sebastien. A crisis-based evaluation of the democratic peace proposition. Canadian Journal of Political Science.31, (2), 263-283.1998.
    • ID: 10.1017/S000842390001979X (DOI)
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  • Gelpi, Christopher. Crime and punishment: The role of norms in crisis bargaining. American Political Science Review.91, (2), 339-360.1997.
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  • Gelpi, Christopher. Democratic diversions: governmental structure and the externalization of domestic conflict. Journal of Conflict Resolution.41, (2), 255-282.1997.
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  • Morgan, T. Clifton, Schwebach, Valerie L.. Fools Suffers Gladly: The Use fo Economic Sanctions in International Crises. International Studies Quarterly.41, (1), 27-50.1997.
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  • Partell, Peter J.. Executive constraints and success in international crises. Political Research Quarterly.50, (3), 503-528.1997.
  • Wong, Kelvin Richard. Testing the Anarchy Tenet: An Empirical Analysis of the Anarchy-Cooperation and Anarchy-Conflict Relationships. Dissertation, University of British Columbia. 1997.
  • Yoon, Mi Yung. Explaining U.S. intervention in Third World internal wars, 1945-1989. Journal of Conflict Resolution.41, (4), 580-602.1997.
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  • Haxton, Michael Lee. Domestic institutions, peace and war: Investigating the causes and contents of the democratic peace. Dissertation, University of Maryland College Park. 1996.
  • Huth, Paul K.. Standing Your Ground: Territorial Disputes and International Conflict. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 1996.
  • O'Brien, Sean P.. Foreign Policy Crises and the Resort to Terrorism: A Time-Series Analysis of Conflict Linkages. Journal of Conflict Resolution.40, (2), 320-335.1996.
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  • Oneal, John R., Lian, Brad, Joyner, James H., Jr.. Are the American People 'Pretty Prudent'? Public Responses to U.S. Uses of Force, 1950-1988. International Studies Quarterly.40, (2), 261-280.1996.
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  • Rioux, Jean Sebastien. The reputation-building behavior of states, 1918-1988. Dissertation, Florida State University. 1996.
  • Rousseau, David L., Gelpi, Christopher, Reiter, Dan, Huth, Paul K.. Assessing the dyadic nature of the democratic peace, 1918-88. American Political Science Review.90, (3), 512 -1996.
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  • Wang, Kevin H.. Presidential Responses to Foreign Policy Crises: Rational Choice and Domestic Politics. Journal of Conflict Resolution.40, (1), 68-97.1996.
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  • Carment, David, James, Patrick. Internal Constraints and Interstate Ethnic Conflict: Toward a Crisis-Basis Assessment of Irredentism. Journal of Conflict Resolution.39, (1), 82-109.1995.
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  • Wang, Kevin Hsing-Ya. Domestic Politics and the Escalation of International Crises. Dissertation, Florida State University. 1995.
  • Brecher, Michael. Crises in World Politics: Theory and Reality. Oxford: Pergamon. 1993.
  • Carment, David. The International Dimensions of Ethnic Conflict: Concepts, Indicators, and Theory. Journal of Peace Research.30, (23), 137-150.1993.
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  • Carment, David B.. The International Politics of Ethnic Conflict: The Interstate Dimensions of Secession and Irredenta in the Twentieth Century, A Crisis-Based Approach. Dissertation, McGill University (Canada). 1993.
  • Maoz, Zeev, Russett, Bruce M.. Normative and Structural Causes of Democratic Peace, 1946-1986. American Political Science Review.87, (3), 624-638.1993.
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  • Russett, Bruce M., Antholis, William, Ember, Carol, Ember, Melvin, Maoz, Zeev. Grasping the Democratic Peace: Principles for a Post-Cold War World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 1993.
  • James, Patrick, Harvey, Frank. The most dangerous game: Superpower rivalry in international crises, 1948-1985. Journal of Politics.54, (12), 25-53.1992.
  • Stern, Eric, Sundelius, Bengt. Managing Asymmetrical Crisis: Sweden, the USSR, and U-137. International Studies Quarterly.36, (2), 213-239.1992.
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  • Bae, Chinsoo. Parity Versus Preponderance: An analysis of the Escalation of Minor-Minor Power Crises, 1946-1985. Dissertation, Florida State University. 1991.
  • James, Patrick. Rational retaliation: Superpower response to crisis, 1948-1979. Public Choice.68, (1-3), 117-135.1991.
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  • James, Patrick, Oneal, John R.. The Influence of Domestic and International Politics on the President's Use of Force. Journal of Conflict Resolution.35, (2), 307-332.1991.
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  • Wilkenfeld, Jonathan. Trigger Response Transitions in Foreign Policy Crises, 1929-1985. Journal of Conflict Resolution.35, (1), 143-169.1991.
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  • Cioffi-Revella, Claudio. The Scientific Measurement of International Conflict: Handbook of Datasets on Crises and Wars, 1495-1988. Boulder: Lynne Rienner. 1990.
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  • Brecher, Michael, James, Patrick. Patterns of Crisis Management. Journal of Conflict Resolution.32, (3), 426-456.1988.
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  • Brecher, Michael, Wilkenfeld, Jonathan, Moser, Sheila. Crises in the Twentieth Century: Vol. I, Handbook of International Crises. New York, NY: Pergamon. 1988.
  • Brecher, Michael, Wilkenfeld, Jonathan, Moser, Sheila. Crises in the Twentieth Century: Vol. II, Handbook of Foreign Policy Crises. New York, NY: Pergamon. 1988.
  • Brecher, Michael, Wilkenfeld, Jonathan, Moser, Sheila. Handbook of Foreign Policy Crises. Crises in the Twentieth Century, vol. 2.New York: Pergamon. 1988.
  • Brecher, Michael, Wilkenfeld, Jonathan, Moser, Sheila. Handbook of International Crises. Crises in the Twentieth Century, vol. 1.New York: Pergamon. 1988.
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  • Dawisha, Karen. The Kremlin and the Prague Spring. International Crisis Behavior series, vol. 4.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1985.
  • Creary, Patrick James. Crisis and War. Dissertation, University of Maryland College Park. 1984.
  • Dowty, Alan. Middle East Crisis: U.S. Decision-making in 1958, 1970 and 1973. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1984.
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    • ID: 10.1177/073889428400700203 (DOI)
  • Wilkenfeld, Jonathan, Brecher, Michael. International Crises, 1945-1975: The UN Dimension. International Studies Quarterly.28, (1), 45-67.1984.
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  • Shlaim, Avi. The United States and the Berlin Blockade, 1948-1949: A Study in Crisis Decision-Making. International Crisis Behavior Project series, vol. 2.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1983.
  • Anglin, D.G.. Zambian Crisis Behavior. International Studies Quarterly.24, (4), 581-616.1980.
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  • Brecher, Michael, Geist, Benjamin. Decisions in Crisis: Israel, 1967 and 1973. International Crisis Behavior Project.Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1980.
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  • Brecher, Michael. Studies in Crisis Behavior. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books. 1979.
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    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 3 | Registration Date: 2015-06-30

Brecher, Michael; Wilkenfeld, Jonathan (1990): International Crisis Behavior Project, 1918-2004. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.