Conflict Patterns

Coordinator: Gudrun Østby

​​​​Is the world becoming more peaceful? The overarching goal of all peace research, including PRIO, is to promote this trend. It is therefore not surprising that PRIO is engaged in tracking conflict trends. For a large number of trends, the current statistics convey a very pleasant result: The world getting more peaceful!

​The Conflict Patterns group is:

  • Collecting data on political violence in many different forms and shapes. Our aim is to both update existing numbers and discover new concepts of political violence that should be tracked
  • Analyzing and discussing external data sources. PRIOs rather unique mix of researchers from different subjects assure a healthy combination of perspectives and methods
  • Thinking forward! What are the key obstacles to peace on earth, and how might we best understand what direction these obstacles might be developing? And, crucially, examining whether we can, effectively, interfere positively in these processes.

Research Group News

Upcoming Events

Past Events

Publications

Recent publications

Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv (2017) Achieving the sustainable development agenda: The governance – conflict nexus, International Area Studies Review. DOI: 10.1177/2233865916683609: 1–16.
Eck, Kristine & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2017) Measuring SDG 16.1.2: The UCDP Data, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Rustad, Siri Aas & Gudrun Østby (2017) Education and Systematic Group Inequalities in Nigeria, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Bahgat, Karim; Kendra Dupuy; Scott Gates; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Siri Aas Rustad; Håvard Strand; Henrik Urdal; Gudrun Østby; Gray Barrett; & Solveig Hillesund (2017) Inequality and Armed Conflict: Evidence and Data.
Dupuy, Kendra; Scott Gates; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Ida Rudolfsen; Siri Aas Rustad; Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal (2017) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2016, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Bahgat, Karim; Gray Barrett; Kendra Dupuy; Scott Gates; Solveig Hillesund; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Siri Aas Rustad; Håvard Strand; Henrik Urdal & Gudrun Østby (2017) Inequality and Armed Conflict: Evidence and Policy Recommendations, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv (2017) Achieving the sustainable development agenda: The governance – conflict nexus, International Area Studies Review. DOI: 10.1177/2233865916683609: 1–16.
Hoelscher, Kristian; Jason Miklian & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2017) Conflict, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Security: Understanding Violent Attacks against Aid Workers, International Peacekeeping. DOI: 10.1080/13533312.2017.1321958.
Hegre, Håvard; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Julian Wucherpfennig & Nils W. Metternich (2017) Introduction: Forecasting in peace research, Journal of Peace Research 54(2): 113–124.
Hegre, Håvard; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Ranveig Flaten Ræder (2017) Evaluating the scope and intensity of the conflict trap: A dynamic simulation approach, Journal of Peace Research 54(2): 243–261.
Knutsen, Carl Henrik; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Tore Wig (2017) Autocratic Elections: Stabilizing Tool or Force for Change?, World Politics 69(1): 98–143.
Rustad, Siri Aas (2016) Socioeconomic Inequalities and Attitudes toward Violence: A Test with New Survey Data in the Niger Delta, International Interactions 42(1): 106–139.
Buhaug, Halvard; Lars-Erik Cederman & Kristian Skrede Gleditsch (2016) Ulikhet, eksklusjon og borgerkrig [Inequality, Exclusion, and Civil War], Politica 48(1): 12–29.
Gates, Scott & Sukanya Podder (2015) Social Media, Recruitment, Allegiance, and the Islamic State, Perspectives on Terrorism 9(4): 107–116.
Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv (2015) Prediksjon i internasjonal politikk [Predicting international politics], Internasjonal Politikk 73(4): 467–487.
White, Peter B.; Dragana Vidovic; Belén González; Kristian Skrede Gleditsch & David Cunningham (2015) Nonviolence as a Weapon of the Resourceful: From Claims to Tactics in Mobilization, Mobilization 20(4): 471–491.
Marsh, Nicholas (2015) Firearms Seizures and Trafficking: A «Local» Phenomenon, The Strategic Trade Review 1(1): 73–87.
Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv (2015) The role of international organizations in regime transitions: How IGOs can tie a dictator’s hands, Conflict Management and Peace Science. DOI: 10.1177/0738894215599554.
Hegre, Håvard & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Governance and Conflict Relapse, Journal of Conflict Resolution 59(6): 984–1016.
Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv & Michael Weintraub (2015) Bargaining Between Rebel Groups and the Outside Option of Violence, Terrorism and Political Violence 27(3): 557–580.
Tollefsen, Andreas Forø & Halvard Buhaug (2015) Insurgency and Inaccessibility, International Studies Review 17(1): 6–25.
Linke, Andrew; Sebastian Schutte & Halvard Buhaug (2015) Population Attitudes and the Spread of Political Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, International Studies Review 17(1): 26–45.
Knutsen, Carl Henrik & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Institutional Characteristics and Regime Survival: Why Are Semi-Democracies Less Durable Than Autocracies and Democracies?, American Journal of Political Science 59(3): 656–670.
Kim, Woosang & Scott Gates (2015) Power Transition Theory and the Rise of China, International Area Studies Review 18(3): 219–226.
Brehm, John & Scott Gates (2015) Bureaucratic Politics Arising from, Not Defined by, a Principal-Agency Dyad, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 25(1): 27–42.
Strand, Håvard & Henrik Urdal (2014) Hear nothing, see nothing, say nothing: Can states reduce the risk of armed conflict by banning census data on ethnic groups?, International Area Studies Review 17(2): 167–183.
Buhaug, Halvard; Lars-Erik Cederman & Kristian Skrede Gleditsch (2014) Square Pegs in Round Holes: Inequalities, Grievances, and Civil War, International Studies Quarterly 58(2): 418–431.
Holtermann, Helge (2014) Relative Capacity and the Spread of Rebellion: Insights from Nepal, Journal of Conflict Resolution 60(3): 501–529.
Holtermann, Helge (2014) How Can Weak Insurgent Groups Grow? Insights From Nepal, Terrorism and Political Violence 28(2): 316–337.
Lacina, Bethany Ann & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2013) The Waning of War is Real: A Response to Gohdes and Price, Journal of Conflict Resolution 57(6): 1109–1127.
Hegre, Håvard; Joakim Karlsen; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal (2013) Predicting Armed Conflict, 2010–2050, International Studies Quarterly 57(2): 250–270.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Steven Pinker; Bradley A. Thayer; Jack S. Levy & William R. Thompson (2013) The Forum: The Decline of War, International Studies Review 15(3): 396–419.
Urdal, Henrik & Kristian Hoelscher (2012) Explaining Urban Social Disorder and Violence: An Empirical Study of Event Data from Asian and Sub-Saharan African Cities, International Interactions 38(4): 512–528.
Gates, Scott; Håvard Hegre; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand (2012) Development Consequences of Armed Conflict, World Development 40(9): 1713–1722.
Holtermann, Helge (2012) Explaining the Development–Civil War Relationship, Conflict Management and Peace Science 29(1): 56–78.
Tollefsen, Andreas Forø; Håvard Strand & Halvard Buhaug (2012) PRIO-GRID: A Unified Spatial Data Structure, Journal of Peace Research 49(2): 363–374.
Hallberg, Johan Dittrich (2012) PRIO Conflict Site 1989–2008: A Geo-Referenced Dataset on Armed Conflict, Conflict Management and Peace Science 29(2): 219–232.
Hegre, Håvard; Lisa Hultman & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2011) Simulating the Effect of Peacekeeping Operations 2010–2035, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 6589: 325–332.
Raleigh, Clionadh; Andrew Linke; Håvard Hegre & Joakim Karlsen (2010) Introducing ACLED: An Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset: Special Data Feature, Journal of Peace Research 47(5): 651–660.
Elbadawi, Ibrahim; Håvard Hegre & Gary Milante (2008) Introduction: The Aftermath of Civil War, Journal of Peace Research 45(4): 451–459.

Monograph

Cunningham, Kathleen Gallagher (2014) Inside the Politics of Self-Determination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Gates, Scott & Kaushik Roy (2014) Unconventional Warfare in South Asia, Shadow Warriors and Counterinsurgency. Farnham: Ashgate.
Cederman, Lars-Erik; Kristian Skrede Gleditsch & Halvard Buhaug (2013) Inequality, Grievances, and Civil War. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Cambridge Studies in Contentious Politics.

Book Chapter

Strand, Håvard & Halvard Buhaug (2016) Armed Conflict, 1946–2014, in Backer, David; Ravinder Bhavnani; & Paul Huth, eds, Peace and Conflict 2016. New York: Routledge (19–24).
Gates, Scott; Håvard Hegre; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand (2016) Development Consequences of Armed Conflict, in Pérouse de Montclos, Marc-Antoine; Elizabeth Minor; & Samrat Sinha, eds, Violence, Statistics, and the Politics of Accounting For the Dead. Berlin: Springer (25–45).
Hegre, Håvard & Idunn Kristiansen (2016) Global, State, and Individual Security in Quantitative Conflict Research, in Schlag, Gabi; Julian Junk; & Christopher Daase, eds, Transformations of Security Studies: Dialogues, Diversity and Discipline. New York: Routledge (190–215).
Bennett, Andrew & Jeffrey T. Checkel (2014) Process tracing: from philosophical roots to best practices, in Bennett, Andrew; & Jeffrey T. Checkel, eds, Process Tracing: from Metaphor to Analytic Tool. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (3–37).
Checkel, Jeffrey T. (2014) Mechanisms, process, and the study of international institutions, in Bennett, Andrew; & Jeffrey T. Checkel, eds, Process Tracing: from Metaphor to Analytic Tool. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (74–97).
Checkel, Jeffrey T. & Andrew Bennett (2014) Beyond metaphors: standards, theory, and the 'where next' for process tracing, in Bennett, Andrew; & Jeffrey T. Checkel, eds, Process Tracing: from Metaphor to Analytic Tool. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (260–275).
Checkel, Jeffrey T. (2014) Identity, Europe, and the world beyond public spheres, in Thomas Risse, ed., European Public Spheres: Politics is Back. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (227–246).
Schneider, Gerald & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2013) The capitalist peace: Origins and prospects of a liberal idea, in Schneider, Gerald; & Nils Petter Gleditsch, eds, Assessing the Capitalist Peace. London: Routledge.

Edited Volume

Schneider, Gerald; & Nils Petter Gleditsch, eds, (2013) Assessing the Capitalist Peace. London: Routledge.

Non-refereed Journal Article

Urdal, Henrik; Gudrun Østby & Nils Petter Gleditsch (2014) Journal of Peace Research, Peace Review 26(4): 500–504.
Buhaug, Halvard; Henrik Urdal & Jack S. Levy (2014) 50 Years of Peace Research: An Introduction to the Journal of Peace Research Anniversary Special Issue, Journal of Peace Research 51(2): 139–144.

Popular Article

Sagmo, Tove Heggli; Marta Bivand Erdal; Rojan Tordhol Ezzati; Maria Gabrielsen Jumbert & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Innvandringsdebatt på feil premisser [Wrong premises for the debate about immigration into Europe], NRK Ytring, 8 September.
Rudolfsen, Ida (2015) Islam og konflikt [Islam and conflict], Ny Tid, 1 April.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter & Ida Rudolfsen (2015) Brannen i islams hus [The Fire in the House of Islam], Aftenposten innsikt, 12 March.
Østby, Gudrun; Henrik Urdal & Ida Rudolfsen (2014) Utdanning Skaper Fred [Education Creates Peace], Dagsavisen, 10 December.

Conference Paper

Hegre, Håvard; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Håvard Strand; Scott Gates & Ranveig D. Flaten (2011) The Conflict Trap, presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting., Seattle, WA, October 11, 2011.
Buhaug, Halvard; & Henrik Urdal (2010) An Urbanization Bomb? Population Growth and Social Disorder in Cities, presented at DKNVS 250 Anniversary Conference on Climate Change and Security, Trondheim, 21 June.
Hegre, Håvard;Hultman, Lisa ; & Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv 2010 Evaluating the Conflict Reducing Effects of UN Peace-Keeping Operations, presented at American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, , 1–5 September.

PRIO Policy Brief

Rustad, Siri Aas & Gudrun Østby (2017) Education and Systematic Group Inequalities in Nigeria, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Dupuy, Kendra; Scott Gates; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Ida Rudolfsen; Siri Aas Rustad; Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal (2017) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2016, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Bahgat, Karim; Gray Barrett; Kendra Dupuy; Scott Gates; Solveig Hillesund; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Siri Aas Rustad; Håvard Strand; Henrik Urdal & Gudrun Østby (2017) Inequality and Armed Conflict: Evidence and Policy Recommendations, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Gates, Scott; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal (2016) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2014, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Gates, Scott; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Esther Trappeniers (2016) Conflict Recurrence, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Paasonen, Kari & Henrik Urdal (2016) Youth Bulges, Exclusion and Instability: The Role of Youth in the Arab Spring, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv & Michael Weintraub (2016) Rejecting Peace? Legacies of Violence in Colombia, Conflict Trends, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Dyrstad, Karin; Helga Malmin Binningsbø; Kristin M. Bakke & Arne Henning Eide (2016) Public Support for Peace Agreements: The Cases of Guatemala, Nepal, and Northern Ireland, Conflict Trends, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Must, Elise​ & Siri Aas Rustad (2016) Perceptions of Justice and Violent Mobilization: Explaining Petroleum Related Riots in Southern Tanzania, Conflict Trends, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Dupuy, Kendra; Scott Gates & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2016) State Fragility and Armed Conflict, Conflict Trends, 7. Oslo: PRIO.
Dupuy, Kendra; Scott Gates; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Ida Rudolfsen; Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal (2016) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2015, Conflict Trends, 8. Oslo: PRIO.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2015) Civilian Targeting by Militias: The Important Role of States, Conflict Trends, 7. Oslo: PRIO.
Hegre, Håvard; Lisa Hultman & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Peacekeeping Works: An Assessment of the Effectiveness of UN Peacekeeping Operations, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Ukiwo, Ukoha O. & Siri Aas Rustad (2015) Nigeria’s Presidential Election 2015, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter & Ida Rudolfsen (2015) Are Muslim Countries More War-Prone?, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.
Svensson, Isak & Magnus Lundgren (2015) Patterns of Peacemaking, Conflict Trends, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Buhaug, Halvard & Ida Rudolfsen (2015) A Climate of Conflicts?, Conflict Trends, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Hoelscher, Kristian; Jason Miklian & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Understanding Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers, Conflict Trends, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Hegre, Håvard & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2014) Peace on Earth? The Future of Internal Armed Conflict, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.
Dahl, Marianne; Scott Gates; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand (2014) Ukraine and the Role of the Security Forces in Popular Uprisings, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Gates, Scott; Håvard Hegre; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand (2014) Development Consequences of Internal Armed Conflict, Conflict Trends, 3. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

Eck, Kristine & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2017) Measuring SDG 16.1.2: The UCDP Data, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv; Thomas Wheeler & Henrik Urdal (2016) Options for Measuring Conflict Deaths in Goal 16, PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.
Buhaug, Halvard & Jonas Nordkvelle (2014) Climate and conflict: A Comment on Hsiang et al.'s Reply to Buhaug et al., PRIO Paper. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo.

Report - Other

Bahgat, Karim; Kendra Dupuy; Scott Gates; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Siri Aas Rustad; Håvard Strand; Henrik Urdal; Gudrun Østby; Gray Barrett; & Solveig Hillesund (2017) Inequality and Armed Conflict: Evidence and Data.
Rustad, Siri Aas; & Karim Bahgat (2016) Nigeria Country StudyOslo: PRIO.

Report - External Series

Marsh, Nicholas; Aaron Karp; & Giorgio Ravalgi (2015) UNODC Study on Firearms 2015, UNODC. Vienna: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv; & Håvard Hegre (2015) Protracted Conflict and Development in the Arab Region, E/ESCWA/ECRI/2015/2 UNESCWA Trends and Impacts, 4. New York: United Nations.
Østby, Gudrun; & Henrik Urdal (2014) Conflict and Educational Inequality: Evidence from 30 Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Commissioned report for USAID. USAID.

Blog Posts

Education and Systematic Group Inequalities in Nigeria

Posted by Siri Camilla Aas Rustad & Gudrun Østby on Thursday, 14 September 2017

On the night between 14 and 15 April, 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram from their school in Chibok in Borno State in Northeastern Nigeria. The Islamist terrorist group does not believe that girls should attend school, and these girls were targeted precisely because they were in school. However, conservative views on gender and education is only ... Read more »

Education and Conflict: What the Evidence Says

Posted by Gudrun Østby & Henrik Urdal on Wednesday, 13 September 2017

These are the key conclusions from the first systematical review of the empirical, quantitative literature on the relationship between education and civil conflict. Evidence from 30 statistical studies indicate that Increasing education levels overall have pacifying effects Rapid expansions of higher education is not a threat Education inequalities between groups ... Read more »

Information Technology Can Help Build Peace. This Is How.

Posted by Kristian Hoelscher, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Jason Miklian on Wednesday, 6 September 2017

In a recent episode of the caustic sitcom “Silicon Valley,” the hard-luck start-up protagonists attend a big technology convention. They stumble across an app called PeaceFare, a game that lets players “build peace” on their phones by giving virtual money to virtual homeless people or virtual corn to virtual starving villagers. ... Read more »

Being Policy Relevant in Peace Research means Forecasting

Posted by Håvard Hegre, Nils W. Metternich, Julian Wucherpfennig & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Driven by the ever-increasing availability of (big) data, as well as computational power and resources, we are currently witnessing an important academic debate about the promises and pitfalls of predicting social and human behavior. Given its potentially disastrous consequences, the prediction of armed conflict and political violence more generally, not ... Read more »

The East Asian Peace – Two New Books

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Friday, 12 May 2017

Two books were launched earlier this week from the East Asian Peace (EAP) program at Uppsala University, led by Stein Tønnesson of PRIO and Uppsala University. One is a monograph by the program director, Stein Tønnesson, Explaining the East Asian Peace, the other a volume edited by Elin Bjarnegård & Joakim ... Read more »

Climate, Peace and Security

Posted by Halvard Buhaug on Sunday, 12 February 2017

Despite rapid scientific progress, firm knowledge about the societal consequences of global warming remains limited. What are the implications of climate change for peace and security? Should we expect more wars and more political instability as the world heats up? The real concerns linked to climate change are not about ... Read more »

Democratic Intervention?

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Donald Trump has made statements sceptical of military interventions in the Middle East. This is perhaps a rare piece of good news. Military intervention as a means of building democracy has once again become a hot topic. The Norwegian government has been criticized due to the consequences of the intervention ... Read more »

Myths About War and Violence

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Monday, 14 November 2016

‘Calculations made by a former president of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, with the assistance of historians from a number of countries, show that since 3600 BC, the world has known only 292 years of peace. Since 650 BC, there have been 1,656 arms races. Sixteen of them ... Read more »

The Victims of War: Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Thursday, 10 November 2016

In making the choice between pessimism and optimism, it may be a risky business to lean on everyday news. Let us rather have a look at figures that reveal more long-term tendencies. Steven Pinker’s book The Better Angels of Our Nature, published in 2011, painted an optimistic picture of mankind ... Read more »

Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2014

Posted by Scott Gates, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård, Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal on Friday, 29 April 2016

Headlines from battlefields in Syria, Libya​​, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Ukraine give the impression that the world is becoming ever more violent. Indeed, since 2013 the number of armed conflicts in the world and the number of battle deaths has risen. Fortunately, the long-term trends nevertheless driving the waning of war ... Read more »

Suicide Bombing ≠ Religious Fervor

Posted by Ragnhild Nordås on Friday, 8 April 2016

Is it just religious fanatics who blow themselves up as suicide bombers? Bernt Hagtvet, Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, has been active in the Norwegian media lately, stating that only religion (he focuses mostly on Islam) brings the fervor to commit suicide attacks as part of ... Read more »

In Defence of the Reviled 20th century

Posted by Håvard Strand & Stein Tønnesson on Wednesday, 30 December 2015

The century of peace. The 20th century laid the foundations for what could make our century a century of peace. The 20th century is often referred to as the bloodiest in human history. Towards the end of that century, the historians Eric Hobsbawm, Gabriel Kolko and Niall Ferguson published general ... Read more »

Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers: Five New Findings

Posted by Jason Miklian, Kristian Hoelscher & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Tuesday, 1 December 2015

More aid workers are being targeted in violent attacks than ever before, but the roots of humanitarian insecurity have nuanced and surprising causes. Syria. Afghanistan. Mali. Central African Republic. Today’s complex conflicts seem to be defined by insurgents, terrorist groups and other violent actors with ideologies that increasingly disregard the ... Read more »

War is Development in Reverse

Posted by Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Henrik Urdal on Friday, 25 September 2015

The UN’s new Sustainable Development Goals are ready for adoption. For the first time, the UN will measure the incidence of one of the most controversial, but important, development indicators: the amount of armed conflict in the world. On 25 September this year, a UN summit will adopt the new ... Read more »

Institutional Characteristics and Regime Survival: Why Are Semi-Democracies Less Durable than Autocracies and Democracies?

Posted by Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Carl Henrik Knutsen on Monday, 10 August 2015

In Zaïre (currently DR Congo) in 1991, the country’s personalist ruler Mobutu Sese Seko faced popular unrest, army mutinies, and shrinking resources for patronage. Mobutu was seemingly starting to lose his grip on power, which he had held since the mid-1960s. In response, Mobutu ended the decades-long ban on political ... Read more »

The "Resister’s Toolkit"

Posted by Erica Chenoweth on Monday, 29 June 2015

In his article in the May 2015 issue of APSR, Evgeny Finkel makes a splash by arguing that exposure to “selective repression” (such as surveillance, beatings, arrests, and torture) helps dissidents to develop a robust skill set with which to maintain enduring resistance later on. He supports this argument with ... Read more »

The Reality of Firearms Trafficking

Posted by Nic Marsh on Wednesday, 17 June 2015

The film The Lord of War and high profile trial of Victor Bout helped to seal in the public imagination the image of an illicit arms trafficker as being someone who smuggled planeloads of Kalashnikovs around the world and into war zones. Such characters do exist, but the reality of firearms trafficking ... Read more »

Surprising Trends Uncovered in New Homicide Visualization

Posted by Nic Marsh on Thursday, 21 May 2015

PRIO is a partner in a new global homicide monitor that has just been published. Hosted by the  Igarapé Institute in Brazil, the monitor presents counts and estimates of global homicide over the period 2000-2014 and is intended to provoke reflection and stimulate debate. The Monitor reports 437,000 homicides in 2012, the ... Read more »

The Victory of Mustafa Akıncı in Northern Cyprus gives Hope to Turkish Cypriots of a Better Future

Posted by Rebecca Bryant on Monday, 18 May 2015

Northern Cyprus held the second round of its presidential election on 26 April, with Mustafa Akıncı defeating the incumbent President, Derviş Eroğlu. Rebecca Bryant writes on what the result of the election might mean for the people of northern Cyprus and future negotiations with the Greek Cypriot-controlled Republic of Cyprus. She notes ... Read more »

A Climate of Conflicts?

Posted by Halvard Buhaug & Ida Rudolfsen on Thursday, 7 May 2015

Political violence correlates strongly with climate: Civil conflict risk is seven to ten times higher in dry and tropical climates than in continental climate zones. Yet, there is little evidence that climatic variability and change are important in understanding this pattern. The prospect of climate change causing forced migration and ... Read more »

Patterns of Peacemaking

Posted by Isak Svensson & Magnus Lundgren on Thursday, 30 April 2015

When do we see international mediation, and what are the impacts? International mediation is a form of diplomatic intervention aimed at reaching negotiated solutions to armed conflict, political violence and international crises. Used by states, organizations, groups or individuals, mediation continues to be an important form of peacemaking. We outline ... Read more »

Islam and Conflict

Posted by Ida Rudolfsen on Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The number of civil wars worldwide has fallen in recent years, but meanwhile the number of civil wars in Muslim countries is increasing. From early on in the 21st century, we have also seen a marked growth in the number of active groups of Islamist insurgents. The media in Western ... Read more »

The Consequences of Internal Armed Conflict for Development (part 1)

Posted by Scott Gates, Håvard Hegre, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand on Wednesday, 8 April 2015

War is a development issue. War kills, and its consequences extend far beyond deaths in battle. Armed conflict often leads to forced migration, long-term refugee problems, and the destruction of infrastructure. Social, political, and economic institutions can be permanently damaged. The consequences of war, especially civil war, for development are ... Read more »

The Fire in the House of Islam

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Friday, 20 March 2015

Generally speaking, the global map of conflict is increasingly shaped by armed conflicts involving Muslims on one side or the other, or on both. Are Muslim countries particularly belligerent? Is the religion to blame? Despite the numerous items of bad news delivered by the mass media on a daily basis, ... Read more »

Oil and Military Intervention: Are the Conspiracy Theorists Right?

Posted by Kristian Skrede Gleditsch on Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Since wars in oil-producing countries may affect the price of, and access to, oil, the so-called conspiracy theorists may be correct that the presence of oil may be a weighty factor in favour of intervention. When a third-party country intervenes in a civil war, the intervention is usually justified as ... Read more »

The Window of Opportunity Closes in Nigeria

Posted by Ukoha O. Ukiwo & Siri Camilla Aas Rustad on Monday, 16 February 2015

On 14 February, the population of Nigeria, Africa’s largest democracy, were supposed to go to the polls to elect a new president. This election might have proven a watershed in Nigerian history. For the first time, the opposition had a realistic opportunity to take over from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ... Read more »

Data Challenges in Conflict Research

Posted by Idean Salehyan & Henrik Urdal on Monday, 9 February 2015

Quality data is at the heart of quality research. The scholarly community depends on valid, reliable, and easily accessible data in order to empirically test our theories of social and political processes. Yet quantitative data is not “truth” in an absolute sense, but rather, is a numeric representation of complex ... Read more »

Peacekeeping Works

Posted by Håvard Hegre, Lisa Hultman & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Thursday, 5 February 2015

An assessment of the effectiveness of UN peacekeeping operations The increase in the deployment of UN ‘blue helmets’ is a key driver of the gradual decline in the number and severity of armed conflicts worldwide since the mid-1990s. This brief summarizes a study that assesses the complete, long-term effectiveness of ... Read more »

More on the Waning of War

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Tuesday, 27 January 2015

On 22 December I reported in this blog on an article by political science professor Øyvind Østerud 18 December in the leading Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten that attacked Steven Pinker and ‘large parts of peace research’ for using ‘relative numbers’, i.e. numbers weighted by population, to assess long-term trends in the severity ... Read more »

Poor Research or What?

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Monday, 22 December 2014

A Norwegian political scientist published an article in the Norwegian daily Aftenposten on 17 December where he criticized the ‘waning-of-war’ argument promoted by, among others, Steven Pinker and ‘major parts of peace research’. Curiously, the article was published in the paper’s column for ‘dårlig forskning, flau formidling, kunnskapsløse politiske forslag ... Read more »

Education Creates Peace

Posted by Gudrun Østby, Henrik Urdal & Ida Rudolfsen on Wednesday, 10 December 2014

On 10 December Nobel’s Peace Prize 2014 is awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai. Critical voices have claimed that their work is more about rights activism than promoting peace and that there is no obvious association between education and peace. Research into the causes of war suggests, however, that ... Read more »

Development Consequences of Internal Armed Conflict

Posted by Scott Gates, Håvard Hegre, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand on Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The development consequences of armed conflict are profound and far-reaching. While the direct victims of war understandably receive most attention, the effects of conflict extend far beyond battlefield casualties and refugee camps. Research has shown that conflict affects all aspects of development covered by the Millennium Development Goals, and that ... Read more »

War Breeds War

Posted by Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Monday, 8 September 2014

As a result of civil wars, some of the world’s least developed nations are now further away from achieving the UN’s Millennium Development Goals than they were when the goals were first adopted.  The UN General Assembly adopted the Millennium Development Goals in September 2000. Following lengthy debate, the assembly ... Read more »

Is it Acceptable to Lie for a Good Cause?

Posted by Henrik Urdal on Friday, 5 September 2014

Humanitarian organizations may easily succumb to the temptation to misuse numbers and statistics in order to promote their own causes. Does the end justify the means? Disasters are most dangerous for moms reported Save the Children’s Carolyn S Miles in Huffington Post when presenting the organization’s State of the World’s ... Read more »

The Paradox of 2014

Posted by Erica Chenoweth on Friday, 18 July 2014

In recent weeks, a number of people have asked me whether I think we’re headed for World War III. Maybe it’s the intense media coverage of the centennial of WWI. Maybe it’s all the violence heating up in Israel & Gaza, Iraq, and Ukraine, and wars raging in Syria, Nigeria, ... Read more »

Ukraine and the Role of the Security Forces in Popular Uprisings

Posted by Marianne Dahl, Scott Gates, Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand on Thursday, 12 June 2014

The recent uprising in Ukraine echoes what happened in the earlier Orange Revolution. Much can be learned by comparing these events and looking at similar uprisings in other countries. This comparison clearly shows the important role played by security forces in determining whether brutal repression or successful regime change will follow. ... Read more »

Peace on Earth? The Future of Internal Armed Conflict

Posted by Håvard Hegre & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård on Thursday, 12 June 2014

The last 20 years have seen a gradual decline in the number and severity of internal armed conflicts worldwide. This trend is partly due to widespread improvements in factors such as education levels, economic diversification, and demographic characteristics. These factors are projected to continue to improve for the remainder of ... Read more »

Climate Change and War

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch on Thursday, 17 April 2014

The day after the publication of the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the effects of climate change, Norwegian daily newspaper Dagsavisen was able to report that Norway’s Minister for Climate and Environment now envisaged a future world with more conflicts. This is in ... Read more »

Violence and Non-Violence in Ukraine

Posted by Marianne Dahl on Monday, 24 February 2014

​​​The Ukrainian opposition is more likely to succeed if its campaign remains primarily non-violent, writes Marianne Dahl, Doctoral Researcher at PRIO. ​This is not the first time that Kiev’s streets have been filled with demonstrators wanting to end Viktor Yanukovych’s days in the presidential palace. In 2004, the Orange Revolution ... Read more »

Why does Democratization Occur in Waves?

Posted by Håvard Hegre on Sunday, 12 January 2014

The ‘Arab Spring’ demonstrated that political transitions tend to occur together in space and time. Samuel Huntington coined the term ‘Waves of democratization’ in his book The Third Wave. The figure above shows that changes to the proportion of the world’s countries that are democracies occurs in spurts. Confirming Huntington’s three waves ... Read more »

Roots of conflict : Don't blame environmental decay for the next war

Posted by Nils Petter Gleditsch & Henrik Urdal on Monday, 22 November 2004

When Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan known for her work in human rights and environmental conservation, including efforts to fight deforestation, won the Nobel Peace Prize last month, many took note that the Nobel Committee had evidently expanded its notion of “peace.” “Peace on earth depends on our ability to secure ... Read more »