A Pretty Big Omission: More on Event Data
In my recent post on coming round to the contribution of quant research in IR, I mentioned that I was interested to see what emerges out of the ICEWS event data system. But despite my falling scepticism towards quant approaches, the critical theory I imbibed over the years made me roll my eyes pretty hard when I read that the ICEWS project doesn’t collect data on the US ‘by design’. That’s what you get when your research project is funded by Lockheed Martin I guess: data-collection driven by the need to have information about the scary outside world. It strikes me that missing data for the US is going to create some problems for those that want to use the data-base to analyse the relationship between protest and democracy, economic development or a host of other factors.
This seems like a variant of sampling on the dependent variable: gathering data from the rest of the world, as the rest of the world is where threats to the US (are presumed to) originate from. I’m not sure whether the database includes information on US domestic terrorism, but if it doesn’t then that’s a huge omission – especially as some studies find a positive correlation between economic development and terror (both origin and targeting).