Using Past Violence and Current News to Predict Changes in Violence

JIWP Number: 2209

Mueller, H., Rauh, C.

Abstract

This article proposes a new method for predicting escalations and de‐escalations of violence using a model which relies on conflict history and text features. The text features are generated from over 3.5 million newspaper articles using a so‐called topic‐model. We show that the combined model relies to a large extent on conflict dynamics, but that text is able to contribute meaningfully to the prediction of rare outbreaks of violence in previously peaceful countries. Given the very powerful dynamics of the conflict trap these cases are particularly important for prevention efforts.

Classification JEL
F21
C53
C55
JIWP