A global model for forecasting political instability

Jack A. Goldstone, Robert H. Bates, David L. Epstein, Ted Robert Gurr, Michael B. Lustik, Monty G. Marshall, Jay Ulfelder, Mark Woodward

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    281 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Examining onsets of political instability in countries worldwide from 1955 to 2003, we develop a model that distinguishes countries that experienced instability from those that remained stable with a two-year lead time and over 80% accuracy. Intriguingly, the model uses few variables and a simple specification. The model is accurate in forecasting the onsets of both violent civil wars and nonviolent democratic reversals, suggesting common factors in both types of change. Whereas regime type is typically measured using linear or binary indicators of democracy/autocracy derived from the 21-point Polity scale, the model uses a nonlinear five-category measure of regime type based on the Polity components. This new measure of regime type emerges as the most powerful predictor of instability onsets, leading us to conclude that political institutions, properly specified, and not economic conditions, demography, or geography, are the most important predictors of the onset of political instability.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)190-208
    Number of pages19
    JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
    Volume54
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jan 2010

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    regime
    dictatorship
    demography
    political institution
    civil war
    democracy
    geography
    economics
    time

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Goldstone, J. A., Bates, R. H., Epstein, D. L., Gurr, T. R., Lustik, M. B., Marshall, M. G., ... Woodward, M. (2010). A global model for forecasting political instability. American Journal of Political Science, 54(1), 190-208. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00426.x

    A global model for forecasting political instability. / Goldstone, Jack A.; Bates, Robert H.; Epstein, David L.; Gurr, Ted Robert; Lustik, Michael B.; Marshall, Monty G.; Ulfelder, Jay; Woodward, Mark.

    In: American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 54, No. 1, 01.2010, p. 190-208.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Goldstone, JA, Bates, RH, Epstein, DL, Gurr, TR, Lustik, MB, Marshall, MG, Ulfelder, J & Woodward, M 2010, 'A global model for forecasting political instability' American Journal of Political Science, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 190-208. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00426.x
    Goldstone JA, Bates RH, Epstein DL, Gurr TR, Lustik MB, Marshall MG et al. A global model for forecasting political instability. American Journal of Political Science. 2010 Jan;54(1):190-208. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00426.x
    Goldstone, Jack A. ; Bates, Robert H. ; Epstein, David L. ; Gurr, Ted Robert ; Lustik, Michael B. ; Marshall, Monty G. ; Ulfelder, Jay ; Woodward, Mark. / A global model for forecasting political instability. In: American Journal of Political Science. 2010 ; Vol. 54, No. 1. pp. 190-208.
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