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An Automated Information Extraction Tool for International Conflict Data with Performance as Good as Human Coders: A Rare Events Evaluation Design

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  • King, Gary
  • Lowe, Will

Abstract

Despite widespread recognition that aggregated summary statistics on international conflict and cooperation miss most of the complex interactions among nations, the vast majority of scholars continue to employ annual, quarterly, or (occasionally) monthly observations. Daily events data, coded from some of the huge volume of news stories produced by journalists, have not been used much for the past two decades. We offer some reason to change this practice, which we feel should lead to considerably increased use of these data. We address advances in event categorization schemes and software programs that automatically produce data by “reading” news stories without human coders. We design a method that makes it feasible, for the first time, to evaluate these programs when they are applied in areas with the particular characteristics of international conflict and cooperation data, namely event categories with highly unequal prevalences, and where rare events (such as highly conflictual actions) are of special interest. We use this rare events design to evaluate one existing program, and find it to be as good as trained human coders, but obviously far less expensive to use. For large-scale data collections, the program dominates human coding. Our new evaluative method should be of use in international relations, as well as more generally in the field of computational linguistics, for evaluating other automated information extraction tools. We believe that the data created by programs similar to the one we evaluated should see dramatically increased use in international relations research. To facilitate this process, we are releasing with this article data on 3.7 million international events, covering the entire world for the past decade.

Suggested Citation

  • King, Gary & Lowe, Will, 2003. "An Automated Information Extraction Tool for International Conflict Data with Performance as Good as Human Coders: A Rare Events Evaluation Design," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 617-642, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:intorg:v:57:y:2003:i:03:p:617-642_57
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    1. Leonardo Becchetti & Andrew E. Clark & Elena Giachin Ricca, 2011. "The Value of Diplomacy: Bilateral Relations and Immigrant Well-Being," CEIS Research Paper 190, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 29 Mar 2011.
    2. Desbordes, Rodolphe & Vicard, Vincent, 2009. "Foreign direct investment and bilateral investment treaties: An international political perspective," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 372-386, September.
    3. Alan Brier & Bruno Hopp, 2011. "Computer assisted text analysis in the social sciences," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 103-128, January.
    4. Michael Scharkow, 2013. "Thematic content analysis using supervised machine learning: An empirical evaluation using German online news," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 47(2), pages 761-773, February.
    5. Massoud Tansa G. & Magee Christopher S., 2012. "Trade and Political, Military, and Economic Relations," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 18(1), pages 1-39, May.
    6. P. N. Barbieri & F. Fazio & G. Gamberini, 2015. "Let Young People Join The Legislative Process. A Twitter Based Experiment On Internships," Working Papers wp995, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    7. Balakina, Olga & D’Andrea, Angelo & Masciandaro, Donato, 2017. "Bank secrecy in offshore centres and capital flows: Does blacklisting matter?," Review of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(C), pages 30-57.
    8. E. Anthon Eff, 2004. "Spatial and Cultural Autocorrelation in International Datasets," Working Papers 200401, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.
    9. Rodolphe Desbordes, 2010. "Global And Diplomatic Political Risks And Foreign Direct Investment," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 92-125, March.
    10. Lin Scott Y. & Seiglie Carlos, 2014. "Same Evidences, Different Interpretations – A Comparison of the Conflict Index between the Interstate Dyadic Events Data and Militarized Interstate Disputes Data in Peace-Conflict Models," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 20(2), pages 1-26, April.
    11. Knill, April & Lee, Bong-Soo & Mauck, Nathan, 2012. "Bilateral political relations and sovereign wealth fund investment," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 108-123.
    12. Leonardo Becchetti & Andrew E. Clark & Elena Giachin Ricco, 2011. "The value of diplomacy: Bilateral relations and immigrant well-being," Working Papers halshs-00580907, HAL.
    13. Strange, Austin M. & Parks , Bradley & Tierney, Michael J. & Fuchs, Andreas & Dreher , Axel, 2014. "Tracking Under-Reported Financial Flows: China’s Development Finance and the Aid-Conflict Nexus Revisited," Working Papers 0553, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    14. Witold J. Henisz & Sinziana Dorobantu & Lite J. Nartey, 2014. "Spinning gold: The financial returns to stakeholder engagement," Strategic Management Journal, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(12), pages 1727-1748, December.
    15. Michele Coscia & Viridiana Rios, 2012. "How and where do criminals operate? Using Google to track Mexican drug trafficking organizations," CID Working Papers 57, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    16. Solomon Polachek & Carlos Seiglie & Jun Xiang, 2005. "Globalization and International Conflict: Can FDI Increase Peace?," Working Papers Rutgers University, Newark 2005-004, Department of Economics, Rutgers University, Newark.
    17. Gianluca Vagnani & Michele Simoni, 2016. "Technological uncertainty, market orientation and firms’ economic performance," MERCATI E COMPETITIVITÀ, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2016(2), pages 143-167.
    18. Amanda Murdie & Dursun Peksen, 2015. "Women’s rights INGO shaming and the government respect for women’s rights," The Review of International Organizations, Springer, vol. 10(1), pages 1-22, March.
    19. Costello, Matthew & Jenkins, J. Craig & Aly, Hassan, 2015. "Bread, Justice, or Opportunity? The Determinants of the Arab Awakening Protests," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 90-100.
    20. Corbetta Renato & Volgy Thomas J. & Rhamey J. Patrick, 2013. "Major Power Status (In)Consistency and Political Relevance in International Relations Studies," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 291-307, December.
    21. Yuri M. Zhukov, 2014. "Theory of Indiscriminate Violence," Working Paper 365551, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    22. repec:bla:worlde:v:40:y:2017:i:9:p:1958-1988 is not listed on IDEAS

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