Conflict Trends

Led by Henrik Urdal
Jul 2013 -


​PRIO's Conflict Trends project collaborates with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to answer questions relating to the causes, consequences and trends in conflict.  The project will contribute to new conflict analyses within areas of public interest, and works to produce thorough and quality based analysis for the MFA. The project builds on the existing competence of PRIO with a strong emphasis on research and new data analysis.​

The Center for the Study of Civil War (2003-2013) was engaged in path-breaking research on war and peace. The Conflict Trends project sustains and makes use of the competence and international connections that PRIO has developed. The project also aims to reduce the gap between science and research and to assure that the resources and knowledge obtained are beneficial to the public in general.

Project Themes

The project will focus especially on the following thematic areas in the first phase of the project:

  • Natural resources and conflict: Both shortages and abundance of resources have increasingly been linked to conflict activity. How will the increased pressure on land and water resources affect conflicts in the world? Natural resources such as oil and diamonds can affect the likelihood of conflict, but also contribute to its prevention. The project focuses the role of industry, and how regional and local conditions can affect the positive potential that natural resources may have on institutional development and distribution of goods.

  • Youth, development and conflict: Large youth bulges can increase the risk of armed conflicts and regime change. At the same time, youth bulges can have a positive impact on society and contribute to economic growth. The project seeks to obtain increased knowledge on how access to education and work will affect the likelihood of conflict in countries with large youth bulges.

  • Political change and stability: In the past years, many have warned that democratic institutions have deteriorated in several countries. The project will examine democratic development from different perspectives, and report on statistical trends.

  • Human costs of conflict: The human costs of conflict often go well beyond those who are killed in direct battle. The project focuses especially on the consequences of conflict on maternal health, and inequality in access to education between women and men, and between groups.

Policy Briefs: Conflict Trends

The aim of the project is to outline short and informative policy brieds within different thematic schemes, while also focusing on more specific, country-based conflicts. In addition to describing the actors and main tendencies in conflict, the notes will include maps with an overview of conflict events, trends in conflict activity over time, and other relevant statistical indicators.​ The briefs in the Conflict Trends series can be found under the Publications tab below.

Blog: Monitoring South Sudan

The project maintains a blog which monitors the situation in South Sudan.


Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Gleditsch, Nils Petter & Ida Rudolfsen (2016) Are Muslim countries more prone to violence?, Research and Politics. DOI: 10.1177/2053168016646392.
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.
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.
Buhaug, Halvard (2015) Climate–conflict research: some reflections on the way forward, Wires Climate Change 6(3): 269–275.
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.
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.

Book Chapter

Hendrix, Cullen; Scott Gates & Halvard Buhaug (2016) Environment and Conflict, in Mason, T. David; & Sara McLaughlin Mitchell, eds, What Do We Know About Civil Wars?. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield (231–246).
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).
Gleditsch, Nils Petter (2014) Will climate change reverse the trend towards peace?, in Schneckener, Ulrich; Arnulf von Scheliha; Andreas Lienkamp; & Britta Klagge, eds, Wettstreit Um Ressourcen. Konflikte Um Klima, Wasser Und Boden. Berlin: Oekom-Verlag (49–60).

Popular Article

Gleditsch, Nils Petter & Ida Rudolfsen (2016) Are Muslim countries more prone to violence?, Washington Post - Monkey Cage.
Rudolfsen, Ida (2015) Islam og konflikt [Islam and conflict], Ny Tid.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter & Ida Rudolfsen (2015) Brannen i islams hus [The Fire in the House of Islam], Aftenposten Innsikt.
Østby, Gudrun; Henrik Urdal & Ida Rudolfsen (2014) Utdanning Skaper Fred [Education Creates Peace], Dagsavisen.

PRIO Policy Brief

Gates, Scott; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Håvard Strand & Henrik Urdal (2016) Trends in Armed Conflict, 1946–2014, Conflict Trends, 1. 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.
Nordås, Ragnhild (2015) Civilian Targeting by Militias: The Important Role of States, Conflict Trends, 7. Oslo: PRIO.
Ukiwo, Ukoha O. & Siri Aas Rustad (2015) Nigeria’s Presidential Election 2015, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Gates, Scott; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Esther Trappeniers (2016) Conflict Recurrence, Conflict Trends, 2. Oslo: PRIO.
Svensson, Isak & Magnus Lundgren (2015) Patterns of Peacemaking, Conflict Trends, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Hoelscher, Kristian; Jason Miklian & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2015) Understanding Attacks on Humanitarian Aid Workers, Conflict Trends, 6. Oslo: PRIO.
Buhaug, Halvard & Ida Rudolfsen (2015) A Climate of Conflicts?, Conflict Trends, 5. Oslo: PRIO.
Nygård, Håvard Mokleiv & Michael Weintraub (2016) Rejecting Peace? Legacies of Violence in Colombia, Conflict Trends, 4. Oslo: PRIO.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter & Ida Rudolfsen (2015) Are Muslim Countries More War-Prone?, Conflict Trends, 3. 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.
Gates, Scott; Håvard Hegre; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård & Håvard Strand (2014) Development Consequences of Internal Armed Conflict, Conflict Trends, 3. 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.
Hegre, Håvard & Håvard Mokleiv Nygård (2014) Peace on Earth? The Future of Internal Armed Conflict, Conflict Trends, 1. Oslo: PRIO.

PRIO Paper

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.

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