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International Futures Help System

Governance Security Dimension


IFs represents two different types of measures related to domestic conflict and security. The first has roots in the work of the Political Instability Task Force (PITF); see Esty et al. (1998) and Goldstone et al. (2010). The PITF database allows us to see the actual pattern of conflict in countries over time and to use that historical conflict pattern to compute an initial probability of conflict. The second type of measure includes indices of vulnerability to conflict, generally presented in terms of rankings of countries with respect to their vulnerability (see Chapter 2 of Hughes et al. 2014, especially Box 2.3). Because these indices are not rooted as solidly in past conflict patterns, we cannot interpret their values or the rankings based on them as probabilities of conflict, but rather as propensities for conflict (and as indicators more generally of country performance and risk).

In order to establish forecasting approaches for both types of measures within IFs, we looked to earlier work (see Chapter 3 of Chapter 2 of Hughes et al. 2014), did our own statistical analysis to create an underlying base formulation for overt conflict probability, and augmented the basic approach via more algorithmic elements—algorithms or logical procedures, like recipes, help guide forecasting through steps that analytical functions cannot easily represent. The algorithmic elements are tied in part to our efforts to fit the IFs forecasting approach at least relatively well to historical data from 1960 through 2010. Chapter 4 of Hughes et al. 2014 elaborates more fully the development process for the representation of security provided in this Help system.

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