1.       Food, Price and Conflict

Title: Food, Price and Conflict: Earth Observations-Based Agricultural Production Forecasting to Assess Potential Impacts on Grain Markets and Civil Unrest

Funder: NASA Land Use Land Cover Change Program under the Science Mission Directorate’s Earth Science Division,  (11-LCLUC11-2-0041)

PI: Inbal Becker-Reshef, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland

Co-PI: Inbal Yahav, Graduate School of Business Administration, Bar-Ilan University, Israel

Co-PI: Kevin D. Jones, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Abstract: The framework of this project focuses on three intertwining objectives: i) development of a robust earth observations (EO) based approach to timely wheat production forecasting at the national scale; ii) assessment of potential price sensitivity to forecast errors and their impacts on market stability; iii) an experimental examination of the relationship between the availability and quality of agricultural production information, price fluctuations and civil unrest.

2.     Forecasting Civil Conflict

Title: Forecasting Civil Conflict under Different Climate Change Scenarios


PI:      Elisabeth Gilmore, School of Public Policy, University of Maryland

Generate estimates of the likely onset, duration and termination of future intrastate conflicts under a range of alternative socio-economic and climate change scenarios from the present to 2100.

There are three components to the project. 
1) Understanding the underlying relationships: Statistical models of the interactions between the physical impacts of climate change, socioeconomic variables and conflict
2)  Forecasting future conflict burdens: A simulation approach that generates probabilistic forecasts and models emergent system behavior by incorporating variables that are endogenous to the conflict
3) Socioeconomic and climate scenarios: Scenarios for both socio-economic and climate change variables that are internally consistent and span the range of expected projections

3.       Aiding Resilience? 

Title:    Aiding Resilience? The Impact of Foreign Assistance on the Dynamics of Intrastate Armed Conflict.

Funder:     MINERVA, DOD

PI:       Paul Huth (Professor of Government; Director, Center for International Development and Conflict Management)

Co-PI: David Backer (Assistant Director, Center for International Development and Conflict Management) 

Co-PI: Kevin Jones (Research Scholar, Center for International Security Studies at Maryland).

Abstract: Does development aid affect resilience to intrastate armed conflict—and if so, where, when, and why? The aim of this project is to evaluate the association between types, locations, timing, and amounts of development aid and the likelihood, escalation, severity, spread, duration, and recurrence of violence, spanning the phases before, during, and after conflict. The research design combines cross-national, subnational, and micro-level empirical analysis. The results will be integrated into simulations using computational modeling, to further probe aid-conflict dynamics and “what-if” counterfactuals. Expected products include a range of publications, as well as an interactive online tool that provides public access to explore extensive georeferenced data on aid and conflict and to study and visualize their relationship.

4.      Reading Religious Perceptions in Iran and the U.S

Title: Reading Religious Perceptions in Iran and the U.S.: An analysis of religious preferences and attitudes towards nuclear negotiation.

Abstract: How does religious affiliation influence one’s support for negotiation between the United States  and the Islamic Republic of Iran? The paper provides an initial analysis of U.S. religious views and how they may impact U.S. foreign policy specifically related to the Islamic Republic of Iran. It suggests that contrary to popular understanding, fundamental beliefs about the incompatibility of religious views is the strongest predictor for both the U.S. and the Iranian publics support or opposition to nuclear negotiation between the states. Initial analysis suggests that the belief in the incompatibility of world views is much stronger in the U.S. than in Iran and is stronger than religious or party affiliation. These results are based on extensive analysis of historic public opinion polls and new results from polls just completed both in the U.S. and in Iran. Methodologically, this paper addresses the criticism of preference falsification, where respondents prefer to falsify their opinions to be in line with official policies.