Decisions, Events and Perceptions in International Crises. Volume I. Measuring Perceptions to Predict International Conflict
FIRST ANN ARBOR CORP MI
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This Final Report describes research on Israeli perceptions of the Arabs during the 1967 and 1973 conflicts. A content analysis scheme was devised to measure perception of threat and time pressure from publicly available documents. The results of this manual content analysis were compared with an automated content analysis of the same documents, and threat perception indices were used in conjunction with event data to statistically predict the outbreak of violent conflict. It was found that the manual content analysis index of threat perception was a good predictor of conflict, increasing sharply several days before both wars. The automated content analysis index was not as good a predictor, and the actions each side directed at the other did not predict conflict escalation with a measurable time lag. The measure of time pressure was not sufficiently sensitive to be useful. Thus, the conclusions are that a reasonable index of threat perception can be derived from the public statements of at least Israeli decision makers, and this index apparently predicts conflict much better than events alone.
- Government and Political Science