Reading between the lines: Prediction of political violence using newspaper text

Hannes Mueller, Christopher Rauh

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2017 American Political Science Association. This article provides a new methodology to predict armed conflict by using newspaper text. Through machine learning, vast quantities of newspaper text are reduced to interpretable topics. These topics are then used in panel regressions to predict the onset of conflict. We propose the use of the within-country variation of these topics to predict the timing of conflict. This allows us to avoid the tendency of predicting conflict only in countries where it occurred before. We show that the within-country variation of topics is a good predictor of conflict and becomes particularly useful when risk in previously peaceful countries arises. Two aspects seem to be responsible for these features. Topics provide depth because they consist of changing, long lists of terms that make them able to capture the changing context of conflict. At the same time, topics provide width because they are summaries of the full text, including stabilizing factors.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)358-375
    JournalAmerican Political Science Review
    Volume112
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018

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