Abstract

Data from the Conflict and Peace Data Bank (COPDAB) and the World Event Interaction Survey (WEIS) reflecting United States and USSR cooperation and conflict are examined comparatively. Using the frequencies of events aggregated by month and by year, the portrayal of the history of US-Soviet interaction is first examined visually with graphs presenting the two versions of the activities of the two countries. The graphs show a number of differences in the characterization of changes in levels of cooperation and conflict, with the two data sets disagreeing on the direction of change 29% of the time.

Correlations of the pairs of variables from the two data sets indicate a high degree of ‘non-consistency’ for three of the four variables examined. When a series of six hypotheses are tested, four of the six are significantly different when compared across the data sets.

When conflict/cooperation ratios are calculated as a measure of ‘tension’ between the two states, these also differ considerably for WEIS and COPDAB.

Whether the comparison of the COPDAB and WEIS versions of US-Soviet interaction is in the form of graphs, correlations of pairs, hypothesis tests on principles of interaction, or correlations of tension ratios, the two data sets seldom match up well. Overall, the choice of one data set rather than the other is likely to introduce variation in outcomes relating to theoretical principles and policy plans.

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