Battle Deaths Data

This project has generated a dataset on battle deaths (number of soldiers and civilians killed in combat) in state-based armed conflicts for the period 1946–2008. The original release in 2005 covered the period 1946–2002. See:

Bethany Lacina & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2005) Monitoring trends in global combat: A new dataset of battle deaths. European Journal of Population 21(2–3): 145–166.

Lacina (2006) has used that dataset in a study of the severity of civil war.

A longer time series (1900-1997) was used in:

Bethany Lacina, Nils Petter Gleditsch & Bruce Russett (2006) The declining risk of death in battle. International Studies Quarterly 50(3): 673-680.

Click here to access replication data for this article.

There are no plans to update the PRIO battle deaths dataset beyond 2008. The Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) maintains a similar dataset from 1989, which is updated annually. For this dataset in different formats, as well as a codebook, go here and look for UCDP Battle-Related Deaths Dataset. While the definitions are very similar, the coding practices may differ somewhat, and we generally recommend users of the two datasets to point out that these are two different, although closely related, datasets.

Debate about the data

For academic exchanges on the PRIO data, see Obermeier et al. (2008) on battle deaths and war deaths, with a response by Spagat et al. (2009) and Gohdes & Price (2012) on trends over time, with a response by Lacina & Gleditsch (2012).

Version History

The Battle Deaths Dataset - Old Versions

The original release in 2005 covered the period 1946–2002. In 2006, Bethany Lacina, Patrick Meier, and Martin Schüepp completed an initial update on the dataset to 2005.

The Battle Deaths Dataset Version 3.0 and 3.1

The most recent update to the PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset was made by Gabriel Uriarte and Bethany Lacina and released in October 2009. This update extends the dataset to 2008 and includes a small number of minor corrections to data from previous years. The data for 2008 were to be regarded as preliminary. In January 2017, Nils Petter Gleditsch and Karim Bahgat added some minor corrections. We are not aware of any outstanding errors.

Please continue to cite the data by referring to Lacina & Gleditsch (2005).

The PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset Version 3.0 and 3.1 are compatible with the UCDP/PRIO Armed Conflict Dataset (Gleditsch et al., 2002; Harbom & Wallensteen, 2009) for the period 1946–2008. Version 2.0 is also compatible with the Correlates of War Dataset (Sarkees, 2000) for the period 1900–97; and with the Fearon & Laitin (2003) dataset on civil conflict for the period 1945–99.

We recommend using Version 3.1 for any new analyses.

Contact

Users may contact battledeaths@prio.org with comments or corrections. The dataset will not be updated beyond 2008, but we will try to correct errors in the existing set.

References

Fearon, James D & David D Laitin (2003) Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war. American Political Science Review 97(1): 75–90.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Peter Wallensteen, Mikael Eriksson, Margareta Sollenberg & Håvard Strand (2002) Armed conflict 1946–2001: A new dataset’, Journal of Peace Research 39(5): 615–637.
Gohdes, Anita & Megan Price (2013) First things first: Assessing data quality before model quality. Journal of Conflict Resolution 56(6): 1090–1108.
Harbom, Lotta & Peter Wallensteen (2009) Armed conflict, 1946–2008. Journal of Peace Research 46(4): 477–487.
Lacina, Bethany (2006) Explaining the severity of civil war. Journal of Conflict Resolution 50(2): 276–289.
Lacina, Bethany & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2005) Monitoring trends in global combat: A new dataset of battle deaths. European Journal of Population 21(2–3): 145–165.
Lacina, Bethany & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2013) The waning of war is real: A response to Gohdes and Price. Journal of Conflict Resolution 57(6): 1109–1127.
Lacina, Bethany Ann; Nils Petter Gleditsch & Bruce M Russett (2006) The declining risk of death in battle. International Studies Quarterly 50(3): 673–680.
Obermayer, Ziyad; Christopher JL Murray & Emmanuela Gakidou (2008) Fifty years of violent war deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia: Analysis of data from the World Health Survey Programme. British Medical Journal 336(7659): 1482A–1486.
Sarkees, Meredith Reid (2000) The Correlates of War data on war: An update to 1997. Conflict Management and Peace Science 18(1): 123–144.
Spagat, Mike; Andrew Mack, Tara Cooper & Joakim Kreutz (2009) Estimating war deaths: An arena of contestation. Journal of Conflict Resolution 53(6): 934-950.