A jury consisting of Brett Ashley Leeds (Rice University), Ola Listhaug (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and Ron P. Smith (Birkbeck College) has awarded the fourth Journal of Peace Research Article of the Year Award to Stathis N. Kalyvas & Matthew Adam Kocher (Yale University). In its assessment of all research articles published in volume 46 of JPR, the jury paid attention to theoretical rigour, methodological sophistication and substantive relevance. According to the jury, the prize-winning article, ‘The Dynamics of Violence in Vietnam: An Analysis of the Hamlet Evaluation System (HES)’, Journal of Peace Research 46(3): 335-355, takes advantage of a unique data source to test hypotheses regarding the conditions under which governments and insurgents perpetrate violence against civilians during civil war. The authors argue that civil war is best understood as a contest for territorial control, and they hypothesize that civil war combatants have incentives to use indiscriminate violence against areas controlled solidly by their opponent and have incentives to use selective violence in areas where they themselves have partial, but not full control. This suggests that the most contested areas, where neither side has control, are likely to experience the lowest levels of violence against civilians. The authors test these hypotheses on data collected at the village and hamlet level during the Vietnam War. Their analysis supports the hypotheses, revealing that the Vietcong used selective violence most often in areas that were partially, but not fully, under their control, and the South Vietnamese government and US forces used indiscriminate violence most commonly against Vietcong-controlled areas. The study is theoretically grounded, innovative, and relevant to current policy issues.
The award is USD 1,000.
Honourable mention goes to the runners-up:
Khusrav Gaibulloev & Todd Sandler, ‘Hostage Taking: Determinants of Terrorist Logistical and Negotiation Success’, Journal of Peace Research 46(6): 739-756.
Dursun Peksen, ‘Better or Worse? The Effect of Economic Sanctions on Human Rights’, Journal of Peace Research 46(1): 59-77.