One without the other? Prediction and policy in international studies

International Studies Quarterly

Published On 2022/9

Like many others, I have spent much time since March 2020 reviewing and reflecting on research on COVID-19 and the policy responses to the pandemic. This has in turn inspired me to reflect on research and policy in my own field. The crisis over Russian demands on Ukraine in early 2022 and the subsequent Russian invasion of Ukraine is at the time ofCentre for Advanced Studies, Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in Oslo, on May 11–12. I would like to dedicate this article to my late supervisor, close collaborator, and personal friend Michael D. Ward. We had many useful discussions on forecasting, and his work on conflict prediction has had a major influence on the field. I hope he would have enjoyed this presidential address.

Journal

International Studies Quarterly

Published On

2022/9

Volume

66

Issue

3

Page

sqac036

Authors

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Position

Professor Department of Government & Peace Research Institute Oslo

H-Index(all)

60

H-Index(since 2020)

48

I-10 Index(all)

0

I-10 Index(since 2020)

0

Citation(all)

0

Citation(since 2020)

0

Cited By

0

Research Interests

Conflict

international relations

democratization

statistical methods

political science

University Profile Page

Other Articles from authors

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Governance

Judiciary institutions and violent crime in American Indian nations

In many American Indian nations the security situation is dire. While scholars have studied how institutions shape economic development in American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) nations, the role of AIAN institutions for security and violent crime has received much less attention—despite the extensive literature highlighting the important role of effective and legitimate institutions in the long‐term decline of violence. We analyze how varying types of American Indian polities and judiciary institutions fare in tackling violent crime using data across 146 American Indian polities. Our findings indicate that more autonomous American Indian criminal justice institutions with specialized court systems are associated with lower violent crime. However, customary justice institutions do not appear to be effective in reducing violent crime, highlighting the problem of cultural mismatch between traditional and formal justice …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

European Journal of International Relations

Clouds with silver linings: how mobilization shapes the impact of coups on democratization

There is a long-standing debate over the impact of coups on democratization. Some argue that coups can help promote transitions to democratic rule. Yet, others contend that coups often spur increased repression and autocratization, undermining hopes of democratic reform. We argue that both democratic and autocratic changes are more likely after a coup and that popular mobilization plays a crucial role in shaping the post-coup trajectory. Democratization is more likely when coups occur in the presence of significant popular mobilization. A coup reveals cracks within a regime, and the combination of pressure from within and threat from below during popular mobilizations fosters greater incentives to promise democratic reform. In the absence of popular mobilization, autocratic rule is more likely, especially when a coup is successful. We test our argument on the combined effect of popular mobilization and coups …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

PLoS one

Local deprivation predicts right-wing hate crime in England

We argue that community deprivation can increase the risk of right-wing radicalization and violent attacks and that measures of local deprivation can help improve forecasting local hate crime rates. A large body of research stresses how experiences of deprivation can erode the perceived legitimacy of political leaders and institutions, increase alienation, and encourage right-wing radicalization and hate crime. Existing analyses have found limited support for a close relationship between deprivation and radicalization among individuals. We provide an alternative approach using highly disaggregated data for England and show that information on local deprivation can improve predictions of the location of right-wing hate crime attacks. Beyond the ability to predict where right-wing hate crime is likely, our results suggest that efforts to decrease deprivation can have important consequences for political violence, and that targeting structural facilitators to prevent far-right violence ex ante can be an alternative or complement to ex post measures.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Peace Research

Going, going, gone? Varieties of dissent and leader exit

We examine how popular dissent affects the likelihood that political leaders lose power, distinguishing between types of dissent in terms of nonviolent/violent primary tactics as well as the level of individual participation. We posit that protests threaten leaders both directly through the governance costs of citizen non-compliance, and indirectly through the increased risk of elite defections in the ruling coalition. In a series of propositions we detail how the type of dissent and the magnitude of participation influence the odds of leaders surviving in office. We argue that mass nonviolent challenges tend to be more threatening to a leader’s rule than violent dissent, given the characteristics of movements likely to choose nonviolent tactics. Moreover, the effectiveness of the challenge increases in the scale and size of the dissident campaign, and movements that can mobilize larger numbers have a comparative advantage in …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

International Studies Review

Challenges to Scholarship and Policy During Crises

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a dramatic influence on mortality and public health and generated much speculation on potential impacts on international politics. Fast-moving crises such as the COVID pandemic and 2008 financial crises entail many challenges for scholarship; events evolve rapidly, our prior knowledge base is limited, it is unclear whether existing theories or analogies apply, and new research findings emerge quickly but also erratically. Researchers face demands to engage with policy and general audiences when normal standards of scholarship may be difficult to apply. Crises can also have a dramatic impact on how we conduct research and interact with other scholars. The forum introduction outlines how crises pose challenges for scholarship and policy and the value of approaching crises such as COVID-19 in comparative perspective. Milner highlights the important differences …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy

This Research has Important Policy Implications…

The COVID 19 pandemic has generated much interest in the relationship between research and policy. It has drawn new attention to the limitations of a linear model, where policy is based on first observing prior scientific research and then designed in response to this. Conflict researchers often motivate the importance of their work by claiming that their “research has important policy implications”, but the proposals offered are often at best incomplete. I identify a number of common limitations in claims about policy implications, including a lack of discussion of objectives and priorities, stating objectives themselves as if they were policies, claims about targeting factors without discussing the effectiveness of possible interventions, and a failure to consider uncertainty and potential tensions with other objectives or unintended effects. Research can potentially inform policy discussions and improve decisions, but the …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Political Research Quarterly

A double-edge sword? Mass media and nonviolent dissent in autocracies

It is often assumed that nondemocratic regimes will control mass media and suppress independent information, but in many autocracies the media are partially free and imperfectly controlled. We argue that partial media freedom can increase the prospects for mass nonviolent dissent. We develop a theory emphasizing how even less than perfectly free media outlets can increase the ability of individuals to coordinate and mobilize, and provide an informational endowment that can help non-state actors overcome collective mobilization barriers. We further argue that this informational endowment amplifies the effect of other influences spurring mass protests in autocracies, in particular protest contagion and elections. We find empirical support for our argument in an analysis of all autocracies between 1955 and 2013. A case study of the Georgian Rose revolution provides further support for the postulated mechanisms.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Political Geography

Michael D. Ward (1948–2021) and the road to space, networks and geography

We were very sad to learn of the passing of our mentor, friend, and collaborator Michael D. Ward on 9 July 2021. Mike made important contributions to political geography, and he served on the editorial board of Political Geography from 2002 to 2013 as well as the advisory board for the Center for Spatially Integrated Social Sciences at the University of California Santa Barbara. Above all, he played a key role in disseminating insights on the role of geography and spatial concepts and methods to his home discipline, political science.In this intervention, we have gathered scholars who worked with Mike at different times in his career to reflect on themes in his research and the enduring relevance of his contributions. Our introduction gives a brief account of how Mike’s interest in geography and space evolved.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

International Studies Quarterly

Ties that bias in international conflict: A spatial approach to dyadic dependence from alliance ties and inbetweenness

Much of international behavior is linked spatially and temporally. Yet, analyses of interstate interactions generally either assume independence among units or resort to technical solutions to dependence that “throw away” relevant information. We detail a more informative and satisfying approach to modeling spatial dependence from extra-dyadic linkages in alliance ties and geographical proximity as specific pathways of conflict contagion. Beyond deterrence, the purpose of alliances is to draw other parties into dyadic contests, but most existing research on conflict onset generally only considers alliance ties within an individual dyad or external intervention in the same dispute. We develop new measures on third- and fourth-party alliance ties, demonstrating direct and indirect spatial effects of alliances on conflict onset. Similarly, ongoing contests can spread geographically, but dyads in some locations are …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

The Journal of Development Studies

Can education reduce violent crime? Evidence from Mexico before and after the drug war onset

Existing theories relate higher education to lower crime rates, yet we have limited evidence on the crime-reducing effect of education in developing countries. We contribute to this literature by examining the effect of education on homicide in Mexico, where homicide rates decreased by nearly 55 percent from 1992 to 2007, before the surge of drug-related violence. We argue that a large amount of this reduction followed a compulsory schooling law at the secondary level in 1993, when the government undertook key education reforms to promote development and economic integration. We employ different empirical strategies that combine regression analysis, placebo tests, and an instrumental variable approach, and find that attendance in secondary and tertiary schools has a negative effect on homicide rates before the onset of the Drug War, although the evidence for secondary enrolment is more robust. This effect …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Mapping the International

This article introduces CShapes 2.0, a GIS dataset that maps the borders of states and dependent territories from 1886 through 2019. Our dataset builds on the previous CShapes dataset and improves it in two ways. First, it extends temporal coverage from 1946 back to the year 1886, which followed the Berlin Conference on the partition of Africa. Second, the new dataset is no longer limited to independent states, but also maps the borders of colonies and other dependencies, thereby providing near complete global coverage of political units throughout recent history. This article explains the coding procedure, provides a preview of the dataset and presents three illustrative applications.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Conflict Resolution

Mapping the international system, 1886-2019: the CShapes 2.0 dataset

This article introduces CShapes 2.0, a GIS dataset that maps the borders of states and dependent territories from 1886 through 2019. Our dataset builds on the previous CShapes dataset and improves it in two ways. First, it extends temporal coverage from 1946 back to the year 1886, which followed the Berlin Conference on the partition of Africa. Second, the new dataset is no longer limited to independent states, but also maps the borders of colonies and other dependencies, thereby providing near complete global coverage of political units throughout recent history. This article explains the coding procedure, provides a preview of the dataset and presents three illustrative applications.

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

In Memoriam: Michael D. Ward (1948–2021)

We were deeply saddened by the passing of our mentor, friend, and colleague Michael D. Ward on 9 July 2021. Mike served on the editorial board of Defence and Peace Economics from the start of 1990 until 2015, and made important contributions to the study of military expenditures, the economics of peace and militarized conflict, as well as modeling and statistical methods in the social sciences. We extend our deep sympathies to Mike’s family Sandra and Chris. Born in Japan to a military family, Mike had a long academic career, at many institutions and multiple countries. He received a PhD in Political Science from Northwestern University in 1977, with a doctoral dissertation on the political economy of inequality, which was later published as The

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Journal of Conflict Resolution

From claims to violence: Signaling, outbidding, and escalation in ethnic conflict

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Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Political Studies Review

Houston, we have a problem: enhancing academic freedom and transparency in publishing through post-publication debate

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Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

The Economics of Peace and Security Journal

Accounting for numbers: Group characteristics and the choice of violent and nonviolent tactics

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Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Terrorism and Political Violence

Better the devil you know? How fringe terrorism can induce an advantage for moderate nonviolent campaigns

Fringe terrorism is common during nonviolent campaigns. We examine how this can modify the strategic environment between dissident groups and the state in ways that present both challenges and opportunities to moderate factions. Terrorism is intended to promote violent escalation in a conflict, but we argue that fringe terrorist activities in a nonviolent campaign under certain conditions can induce an advantage for well-organized moderate factions. The risk of escalation following terrorism can give the government more incentives to offer concessions to moderate campaign leaders if the movement can credibly prevent armed escalation. The ability to control and prevent violence is more likely when nonviolent movements have a hierarchical structure and a centralized leadership, as such campaigns are better able to prevent shifts by supporters towards violent fringes. Using new data on terrorist attacks by …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

Mobilization

Ticked off, but scared off? Riots and the fate of nonviolent campaigns

Research on the relationship between nonviolent and violent dissent has focused on explicit shifts in organized strategies, disregarding less-organized forms of violence such as riots. Even though disorganized violence is common, we know little about how it influences the onset and fate of antigovernment nonviolent campaigns. Activists frequently argue that nonviolent discipline is essential and disorganized violence is counterproductive for effective large-scale mobilization. However, others emphasize how disorganized violence could have a mobilizing effect on large-scale protest and revitalize a nonviolent campaign. We detail these competing perspectives on how riots can influence the onset and outcomes of nonviolent campaigns. We then evaluate these contending claims empirically by examining how riots affect the initial emergence of nonviolent campaigns and the likelihood that campaigns will terminate …

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

Kristian Skrede Gleditsch

University of Essex

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International Studies Quarterly

Do Threats or Shaming Increase Public Support for Policy Concessions? Alliance Coercion and Burden-Sharing in NATO

Existing literature suggests that alliance members can use their partners’ abandonment fears to obtain favorable concessions for themselves. However, evidence on the effectiveness of threats of abandonment as motivation for defense burden-sharing remains limited. This article uses a survey experiment conducted in Poland and Germany to assess how American signals of support and threats of abandonment shape public support for increasing their countries’ military spending. The findings suggest that threats of abandonment increase public support for higher defense spending, whereas approaches like “naming and shaming” under-contributing partners do not. However, assurances of protection did not decrease support for defense spending, and combining threats with assurances if anything increased those threats’ effects. Threats are thus most effective when they do not fundamentally undermine …

Fiona B. Adamson

Fiona B. Adamson

SOAS, University of London

International Studies Quarterly

The Political Geography of Globalized Civil Wars: Networked Actors and Multi-Scalar Strategies in the Kurdish Conflict Assemblage

This article introduces and lays out a conflict assemblage framework for understanding the political geography of globalized civil wars. It suggests the utility of conceptualizing Turkey’s Kurdish conflict as an assemblage in which networked actors use multi-scalar strategies as part of their overall conflict strategy. Insurgent organizations such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) operate at various scales beyond the national—including local, regional, transnational, and global—and in so doing utilize political opportunities and mobilize resources that are embedded in different locales. In the Kurdish case, disparate sites such as Diyarbakir, Marseille, Istanbul, London, New York, and Kobane become tied together within a single conflict assemblage that transcends geographical boundaries. An assemblage approach to violent conflict is a form of ontological theorizing that highlights this spatial and political …

Gruia Badescu

Gruia Badescu

Universität Konstanz

International Studies Quarterly

Remaking the Urban: International Actors and the Post-war Reconstruction of Cities

The postwar reconstruction of cities has become an arena of international actors who mobilize different narratives of power and reshape conflict using other means. This article highlights how international actors use urban reconfigurations as a tool for intervening in the broader postconflict reconstruction of societies. First, it shows that the postwar reconstruction of cities is not only a set of spatial and economic processes of remaking the urban environment, but also a discursive practice of highlighting hegemonies through space. The article argues that reconstruction entanglements in inter-imperial space reflect both the endurance and the emergence of hegemonies of power. Second, urban reconstruction and other spatial interventions in contested urban space often prolong the tensions originating from war. In cities where destruction was caused by a mixture of internal and external actors, and where previous …

Luis L. Schenoni

Luis L. Schenoni

Universität Konstanz

International Studies Quarterly

The Saavedra Lamas Peace: How a Norm Complex Evolved and Crystallized to Eliminate War in the Americas

After the Napoleonic Wars, interstate war regularly occurred throughout the Western Hemisphere—until it virtually disappeared in the early 1930s. Low-level militarized conflict continued, but also became less frequent, shorter, and less severe over time. Why did conflict behavior change so markedly in the Americas, but not elsewhere, and why did that change occur in the early 1930s? We argue that leaders in the Americas identified two interrelated problems that frequently threatened or caused interstate war. In response, they developed a unique, regional, norm-complex solution that bundled together two primary norms (territorial integrity and non-intervention) and one corollary norm (arbitration). This norm complex emerged via Latin American entrepreneurship shortly after independence, cascaded with Pan-Americanism, and finished crystallizing with the Saavedra Lamas Treaty in the early 1930s. We first explain generally how, why, and when norm complexes develop, augmenting the classic norm-cycle framework with a punctuated-equilibrium model and adding a crystallization period to it. We then investigate the evolution, behavioral effects, and constraints of the Latin American norm complex mentioned above—via historical narratives, quantitative analysis, and within-case qualitative counterfactuals. Interstate war disappeared from the Americas when the norm-complex gained widespread acceptance and received significant codification (i.e., crystallized).