JSM 2011 Online Program

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Abstract Details

Activity Number: 382
Type: Invited
Date/Time: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Section on Statistics in Defense and National Security
Abstract - #300353
Title: Inferring Social Network Structure from Incident Size Distribution in Iraq
Author(s): Tim Gulden*+
Companies: George Mason University
Address: 4400 University Drive, MS 6B2, Fairfax, VA, 22030,
Keywords: Social networks ; power-laws ; conflict ; counterinsurgency ; violence

The violence in Iraq between 2003 and the present has been multi-faceted and extremely hard to characterize in terms of its motivations, participants and even overall scale. This work identifies a remarkably stable truncated power-law pattern in the size distribution of violent incidents in the Iraq Body Count (IBC) database and seeks to explain it in terms of social networks and the US role in breaking up major violent groups. These results are compared to data from the leaked SIGACTS database thus generating additional hypotheses about how much of the observed effect is due to the dynamics of the conflict as opposed to the nature of the reporting.

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