Forecasting Methods for Conflict Situations
In 1975, a consortium sponsored by the Argentine government tried to purchase the stock of the Britishowned Falkland Islands Company, a monopoly that owned 43 percent of the land in the Falklands, employed 51 per cent of the labor force, had a monopoly on all wool exports, and operated the steamship run to South America. The stockholders were willing to sell especially because the Argentine consortium was reportedly willing to pay “almost any price.” But the British government stepped in to prevent the sale, (Murray N. Rothbard, as quoted in The Wall Street Journal, 8 April 1982). In my opinion, the actual solution in the Falklands War left both sides worse off than before. In contrast, a sale of the Falklands would have benefited both sides in the short run, and, as companies seldom wage shooting wars, this would probably have been a good long-range solution. Apparently, Britain did not predict how the Argentine generals would act when it blocked the sale, and the Argentine generals did not predict how Britain would respond when they occupied the islands. Accurate forecasting by each side in this situation might have led to a superior solution. This study examines the evidence on alternative procedures that can be used to forecast outcomes in conflict situations. I first define what is meant here by conflict situations. Next, I describe alternative forecasting methods. This is followed by a presentation of hypotheses on which method is more appropriate. The evidence is reviewed in two stages: first the prior research, then research that we have done.
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