The jury consisting of Nils B Weidmann (University of Konstanz), Anita Gohdes (Hertie School of Governance) and Michael D Ward (Duke University) has awarded the seventh JPR Best Visualization Award to Stijn van Weezel (University College Dublin). The prize-winning publication is a research article titled ‘On climate and conflict: Precipitation decline and communal conflict in Ethiopia and Kenya’ and was published in the July issue (Journal of Peace Research 56(4): 514–528). The article studies how climate change and the resulting shifts in precipitation patterns affect the propensity of communal conflict in the Horn of Africa. Graphical illustrations are used to show the overall magnitude of the rainfall anomalies, but also their varying spatial extent. Before applying more complicated regression models, the author presents simple bivariate results graphically, illustrating that the frequency of communal conflict seems to be higher in areas affected by droughts. When analyzing the predictive accuracy of the regression models, visual aids are used to compare models that include rainfall variables and those that do not. This is an effective way to show that most of the predictive power of the models seems to be driven by other variables, based on which the author cautions against strong expectations regarding the link between precipitation and violent conflict. Overall, this article nicely demonstrates how graphical means can help to illustrate patterns in data and statistical results in different parts of an empirical research project.
The award is USD 500.