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[OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries

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paper Wrote:The fact that many Islamist terrorist attacks have been perpetrated in Muslim countries (such as Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Tunisia and Egypt) constitutes rather strong evidence that at least some Islamist terrorists are motivated by grievances other than Western military intervention


A further option is that these countries despite being inhabited mostly by Muslims, have been allied with Western governments in attacks or perceived attacks on Muslims. Turkey is a member of NATO and has taken part in aggression against Muslim states: Turkey was part of the aggression in Libya and Afghanistan and as well as the current conflict in Syria. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wa...ing_Turkey

paper Wrote:Terrorism threat level is treated as a linear scale, running from 1 (low) to 4 (high).


I think you mean ordinal or perhaps interval scale. Multiple regression/correlation assume interval scale.

You may also want to model it using latent correlations altho I'm not sure how one does this for multiple regression. For the bi-variate case, see http://john-uebersax.com/stat/tetra.htm.

paper Wrote:One major caveat concerning this measure is that it was not possible to discern how the FCO actually puts it together. In particular, it was not possible to rule out that the measure is partly based on information such as percentage of Muslims in the population or military intervention in the Middle East. If it is partly based on such information, then the analyses in Section 3 are somewhat tautological. In an attempt to discern how the measure is in fact constructed, two emails were sent to the FCO (see Appendix A). However, in both cases, the reply received was wholly uninformative: each one simply provided a link to the FCO’s travel advice page, namely FCO (2016). The analyses in Section 3 are predicated on the assumption that terrorism threat level is based on information such as secret intelligence reports, rather than demographic or foreign policy statistics.


I am happy you mentioned this problem. It is unfortunate that they did not provide more useful answers.

Do other countries or agencies publish similar terrorism threats? If they do, it would be nice to replicate the analyses with their measures, perhaps also use factor analysis if one could find a number of sources. I seem to recall that EUROPOL also publishes some similar data.

Finally, does the FCO still have their older terrorism threat estimates? It may be interesting to look at the threat level longitudinally. It is possible to estimate the proportion of Muslims in countries longitudinally as well (using country of origin information + a simple compositional model á la http://openpsych.net/ODP/2015/03/increas...1980-2014/).

paper Wrote:Three measures of military intervention in the Middle East were utilised: first, whether a country sustained any military deaths in the Iraq (Operation Iraqi Freedom) or Afghanistan (Operation Enduring Freedom) wars, as reported by iCasualities.org (2016a,b); second, whether a country sustained at least 50 military deaths in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, as reported by iCasualities.org (2016a,b); and third, whether a country is part of the anti-ISIS military coalition, as reported by Wikipedia (2016). 21 countries (75%) in the sample sustained at least one military death in Iraq or Afghanistan; 8 (29%) sustained at least 50 military deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan; and 7 (25%) are part of the Anti-ISIS military coalition.


Is there a reason that these threshold variables are used instead of a (log transformed perhaps) death count? The number 50 seems arbitrary and may as well have been e.g. 25. One might also argue that one should use per capita death counts. The datafile only has the dummy coded variables, not the actual counts, unfortunately, so others cannot easily try a continuous approach.

There is also the question of why the countries only include Iraq and Afghanistan and not, say, Syria or Libya. ISIS is based in Syria and Iraq, so there would seem to be prima facie reason to include these two given that ISIS is the most active Islamic terrorist organization currently operating (as far as I know).

paper Wrote:Three control variables were utilised: first, GDP per capita at PPP for 2014, taken from OECD (2016a); harmonised unemployment rate for 2014, taken from OECD (2016b); and post-tax post-transfer Gini coefficient (a measure of income inequality), taken from OECD (2016c). Because there was no recent year in which the Gini coefficient was available for all countries in the sample, the maximum value observed between 2009 and 2011 was utilised. In order to reduce skewness, the logarithmic transformation was applied to GDP per capita.


Why were these particular variables chosen and not others? The paper does not mention any reason one might want to control for these variables.

The betas are not shown for the control variables. Why is this?

paper Wrote:(p < 0.001)


I am not a big fan of p values. I would be very happy if you instead used confidence intervals for the reasons given in e.g. http://pss.sagepub.com/content/25/1/7.

However, if you really want to use p values, perhaps it would a good idea to supplement with confidence intervals in important cases. Since there are relatively few datapoints, it would perhaps be best to use bootstrapped CIs because these do not involve parametric assumptions (are your variables normally distributed?).

paper Wrote:although 50+ military deaths in Iraq or Afghanistan is only significant at the 10% level


I would prefer that you drop any mentioning of 10% 'significance'. It's a too high level of alpha in my opinion.

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What happens if one includes more than one of the military intervention against Muslim states predictors? I imagine they show appreciable levels of collinearity, so that may not yield anything useful.

paper Wrote:Note that percentage Muslim was Winsorized at its second largest value (namely 19%, for Israel), because its largest value (namely 99%, for Turkey) skewed the variable so substantially.


An alternative choice is log transformation. Was this also tried?

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The datafile is attached. Could you instead place it on OSF? This is a better way to keep files and has built in versioning.

The variables are mentioned in the first sheet, but there are no links to the sources. Presumably these are web sources, so it would be very helpful with links.

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Finally, how were the data analyzed? There is no code file attached so that others may review the analysis code.

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There is some evidence that the countries with more Muslims also have Muslims that are on average more extreme. Muslims in Western countries are less extreme in their beliefs than Muslims in their home countries.

It is hard to find data about this. I analyzed Pew Research's Muslim dataset and found a clear general religious extremism factor that varied by country. Unfortunately, there are no Western countries in the dataset, so one cannot compare with the extremism of Muslims in e.g. Germany so easily. This means that there is substantial restriction of range decreasing the observed correlation. Still, there is a small positive correlations between mean extremism and proportion of the population that is Muslim. See the attached plot.

Blogpost: http://emilkirkegaard.dk/en/?p=5485

If this correlation is real and causal, it is a confound for your models.

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I will do a full analytic replication of the analyses in the paper at some later point to confirm all the results. From the looks of it, the analyses conducted are fairly simple, so this should not take long.


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Messages In This Thread
[OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Apr-27, 12:23:00
Review - by Emil - 2016-Apr-27, 14:24:14
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Apr-28, 15:55:00
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Apr-28, 18:17:21
Analytic replication - by Emil - 2016-May-02, 02:05:48
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-May-02, 16:00:01
Review #2 - by Emil - 2016-May-02, 02:54:57
Reply to Noah #7 - by Emil - 2016-May-02, 21:51:15
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-May-03, 18:52:46
Review #3 - by Emil - 2016-May-03, 19:05:39
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-May-03, 21:01:20
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Chuck - 2016-May-12, 02:54:13
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-May-12, 18:59:35
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Chuck - 2016-May-12, 21:28:17
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Chuck - 2016-May-25, 01:40:16
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-May-25, 15:51:52
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Emil - 2016-May-03, 21:05:22
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Jun-01, 16:25:52
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Chuck - 2016-Jun-02, 04:39:35
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Emil - 2016-Jun-02, 13:17:15
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Jun-02, 15:29:20
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Emil - 2016-Jun-02, 16:07:09
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Jun-03, 16:03:21
Review #3 - by Emil - 2016-Jun-05, 02:15:22
Analytic replication #2 - by Emil - 2016-Jun-10, 17:59:12
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Jun-10, 20:48:04
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Emil - 2016-Jun-10, 21:47:25
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by ljzigerell - 2016-Jun-15, 05:27:15
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Jun-17, 18:24:53
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by ljzigerell - 2016-Jun-17, 21:14:31
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Jun-21, 18:37:11
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Chuck - 2016-Jun-24, 00:55:58
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Emil - 2016-Jun-24, 08:54:45
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by Emil - 2016-Jun-28, 17:32:01
RE: [OQSPS] Explaining Terrorism Threat Level Across Western Countries - by NoahCarl - 2016-Nov-14, 19:36:01
 
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