PRIO Network

Battle Deaths Data

This project maintains a dataset on battle deaths (soldiers and civilians killed in combat) in state-based armed conflicts. The original release in 2005 covered the period 1946–2002. See:
Bethany Lacina & Nils Petter Gleditsch, 2005. ‘Monitoring Trends in Global Combat: A New Dataset of Battle Deaths’, European Journal of Population 21(2–3): 145–166.

A longer time series (1900-2002) is used in:
Bethany Lacina, Nils Petter Gleditsch & Bruce Russett, 2006. 'The Declining Risk of Death in Battle', International Studies Quarterly 50(3): 673-680. Click here to access replication data for this article.

Debate about the battle deaths and war deaths
An article in a medical journal (Obermeier et al., 2008) took our data as a starting-point for a claim that ’Globally, war has killed three times more people than previously estimated, and there is no evidence to support claims of a recent decline in war deaths’ (BMJ press release). In a recent article, Spagat et al. (2009) found that ‘The article by Obermeyer and colleagues presented a critique of the PRIO dataset in a high-visibility journal that unwarrantably faulted the scholarship of the PRIO researchers who produced it. Yet the article signally failed to substantiate any of its major criticisms, while containing serious methodological and factual errors’ (press release from the Human Security Report). The authors also claimed that BMJ had shown itself to ‘effectively unaccountable to its critics’. For a full report on the controversy with links to the two articles, see:

http://www.hsrgroup.org/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=469 and http://www.hsrgroup.org/images/stories/Documents/PR_12152009.pdf.

  

Battle Deaths Dataset Version 3.0

Released October 2009

In 2006, Bethany Lacina, Patrick Meier, and Martin Schüepp completed an initial update on the dataset to 2005.

The most recent update to the PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset has been made by Gabriel Uriarte and Bethany Lacina and was released in October 2009. This update extends the dataset to 2008 and includes a small number of minor corrections to data from previous years. The data for 2008 are to be regarded as preliminary and will be reviewed in the next update. However, we do not anticipate that there will be major revisions.

Please continue to cite the data by referring to:

Bethany Lacina & Nils Petter Gleditsch, 2005. ‘Monitoring Trends in Global Combat: A New Dataset of Battle Deaths’, European Journal of Population 21(2–3): 145–166.

The PRIO Battle Deaths Dataset Version 3.0 is compatible with the UCDP/PRIO Armed Conflict Dataset (Gleditsch et al., 2002; Harbom & Wallensteen, 2009) for the period 1946–2008. Version 2.0 is compatible with the Correlates of War Dataset (Sarkees, 2000) for the period 1900–97; and the Fearon & Laitin (2003) dataset on civil conflict for the period 1945–99.

Users should contact battledeaths@prio.no with any comments or corrections. We will try to reply to your e-mail as soon as it is received, but all e-mails will be collected in a special account and reviewed when we next update; probably in 2011. Suggestions for new and improved sources of battle death information are welcome.

 

The Battle Deaths Dataset Version 3.0
New Version Released October 2009

The Battle Deaths Dataset - Old Versions

 


References

Harbom, Lotta & Peter Wallensteen, 2009. ‘Armed Conflict, 1946–2008’, Journal of Peace Research 46(4): 477-487. 

Fearon, James D. & David D. Laitin, 2003. ‘Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War’, American Political Science Review 97(1): 75–90.

Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Peter Wallensteen, Mikael Eriksson, Margareta Sollenberg & Håvard Strand, 2002. ‘Armed Conflict 1946–2001: A New Dataset’, Journal of Peace Research 39(5): 615–637.

Obermayer, Ziyad; Christopher J.L. Murray & Emmanuela Gakidou, 2008. 'Fifty Years of Violent War Deaths from Vietnam to Bosnia: Analysis of Data from the World Health Survey Programme', British Medical Journal 336(7659): 1482A-1486.

Sarkees, Meredith Reid, 2000. ‘The Correlates of War Data on War: An Update to 1997’, Conflict Management and Peace Science 18(1): 123–144.

Spagat, Mike; Andrew Mack, Tara Cooper & Joakim Kreutz, 2009. 'Estimating War Deaths: An Arena of Contestation', Journal of Conflict Resolution 53(6): 934-950.


Publications

Lacina, Bethany Ann; Nils Petter Gleditsch & Bruce M. Russett, 2006. 'The Declining Risk of Death in Battle', International Studies Quarterly 50(3): 673–680.

Lacina, Bethany Ann, 2006. 'Explaining the Severity of Civil War', Journal of Conflict Resolution 50(2): 276–289.

Lacina, Bethany Ann & Nils Petter Gleditsch, 2005. 'Monitoring Trends in Global Combat: A New Dataset of Battle Deaths', European Journal of Population 21(2–3): 145–165.