Collaborative Research: Automated Real-time Production of Political Indicators

Project: Research project

Project Details


Systematic indicators of political characteristics such as regime type, internal instability, and inter-state conflict have been widely used in political and economic research over the past three decades and are increasingly used in policy applications. There has been limited effort to automate the production of such indicators, which are generally produced by individual research projects using human coders and are widely available only after a considerable delay. Improvements in computer software and hardware, meanwhile, have made the process of analyzing large bodies of text to extract meaningful information much more efficient. Automated coding is transparent, without the unreproducible subjective elements of human coding, and once the source texts have been prepared, recoding to account for new theoretical or technological perspectives can be done quickly and efficiently. Using extant tools for automated coding, this project will produce near real-time political indicators that will be comparable, if not identical, to indicators produced by human coding. The project first creates data on the interaction events of nations in the current century. In addition, the project will extract measurements of the characteristics and behaviors of governments, including human rights practices and the level of autocracy. Finally, the project will construct information about the interstate disputes among nations.

In the realm of world politics, most scientific analysis is based on data that are at least a decade old. This research will significantly reduce the time-lag between events in the contemporary world and systematic measurement and analysis of those events in the academic and policy arena by reducing to weeks from decades the delay with which systematic data are made publicly available. Moreover, this project will expose these data in a transparent and widely accessible way. Not only will the data be available to those who collected the data, but they will be freely accessible to any and all via a web interface. The project will permit recent patterns and changes, such as the rise of China, to be more readily reflected in scientific research on world affairs. This should provide a continuing foundation for more accurate and increasingly credible understandings of politics at the global level.

Effective start/end date4/1/133/31/15


  • National Science Foundation: $97,894.00


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