Recasting the warning-response problem: Persuasion and preventive policy

C.O. Meyer, F. Otto, J. Brante, Chiara de Franco

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The paper takes stock of the debate about the so-called warning-response-gap regarding armed conflict within states. It argues that while the existing literature has focused strongly on "better prediction," it has neglected the analysis of the conditions under which warnings are being noticed, accepted, prioritized and responded to by policy-makers. This has led to a simplistic understanding of how communicative, cognitive and political processes involving a range of actors can influence both the perception as well as the response to warnings. The paper also criticizes that many normative judgments about the desirability of preventive action are suffering from hindsight bias and insufficient attention to balancing problems related to risk substitution, opportunity costs and moral hazard. In response to these deficits, the paper puts forward a modified model of warning as a persuasive process. It can help us to ascertain under what circumstances warning succeed in overcoming cognitive and political barriers to preventive action and to help establishing benchmarks for assessing success and failure from a normative perspective.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Studies Review
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)556-578
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Recasting the warning-response problem: Persuasion and preventive policy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this