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Estimating War Deaths: An Arena of Contestation
Department of Economics, Royal Holloway College, University of London.
School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University.
School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research. (Uppsala Conflict Data Program)
2009 (English)In: Journal of Conflict Resolution, ISSN 0022-0027, E-ISSN 1552-8766, Vol. 53, no 6, 934-950 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a much-cited recent article, Obermeyer, Murray, and Gakidou (2008a) examine estimates of wartime fatalities from injuries for thirteen countries. Their analysis poses a major challenge to the battle-death estimating methodology widely used by conflict researchers, engages with the controversy over whether war deaths have been increasing or decreasing in recent decades, and takes the debate over different approaches to battledeath estimation to a new level. In making their assessments, the authors compare war death reports extracted from World Health Organization (WHO) sibling survey data with the battle-death estimates for the same countries from the International Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO). The analysis that leads to these conclusions is not compelling, however. Thus, while the authors argue that the PRIO estimates are too low by a factor of three, their comparison fails to compare like with like. Their assertion that there is “no evidence” to support the PRIO finding that war deaths have recently declined also fails. They ignore war-trend data for the periods after 1994 and before 1955, base their time trends on extrapolations from a biased convenience sample of only thirteen countries, and rely on an estimated constant that is statistically insignificant.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 53, no 6, 934-950 p.
Keyword [en]
civil war, armed conflict, war deaths, health surveys
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-112059DOI: 10.1177/0022002709346253ISI: 000271473800005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-112059DiVA: diva2:284611
Available from: 2010-01-07 Created: 2010-01-07 Last updated: 2010-12-28Bibliographically approved

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Kreutz, Joakim
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