The committee consisting of Anita Gohdes (Hertie School), Nils W Metternich (University College London), and Yuri Zhukov (University of Michigan) has awarded the ninth JPR Best Visualization Award to Gaku Ito (Hiroshima University). The prize-winning publication is a research article titled 'Why does ethnic partition foster violence? Unpacking the deep historical roots of civil conflicts' and was published in Journal of Peace Research 58(5): 986–1003. The article explores the causal mechanisms relating ethnic partition by international borders to the risk of postcolonial civil conflicts in Africa. The article finds that ethnic partition increases the risk of armed conflict, which is conditioned by political discrimination and group size. Graphs are used in each section to communicate descriptive, theoretical, and empirical findings. All figures are simple, very well designed, and aesthetically pleasing. A particular strength is the degree to which figures are self-sufficient, through the effective use of labels, captions, and the good use of colors and shapes. The visualizations tell a clear story, starting with the introduction of the data, displaying the main identification strategy through well executed directed acyclic graphs, and presenting the mediation analysis results in a variety of effective figures. Furthermore, causal interaction effects are plotted in a graph that provides both the logged and natural scale, which allows the reader to easily assess effect sizes. The committee found that this use of excellent visualizations, throughout the article, demonstrates our discipline’s state of the art and therefore Gaku Ito is a truly deserving winner of this year's JPR Best Visualization Award.
The award is USD 500.