Game of Thrones – the Middle Ages and Today

Every generation has its own concept of the Middle Ages. Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama, but it also reflects the present, viewed through the prism of the Middle Ages. From Middle-earth to Westeros Many young people today picture our distant past in a way that is strongly influenced by The Lord of the… Read more »

Producing Reliable Data for SDG 16: The Case of Conflict Data

In 2015, the United Nations stated unequivocally in the last progress report for the Millennium Development Goals that “conflict remains the largest obstacle to development”. Yet, reducing conflict and violence in the world was never a target in and of itself under the MDGs. This changed with the inclusion of Goal 16 as part of the Sustainable… Read more »

U.N. Peacekeeping Really Can Be Effective. Here’s How We Tabulated This

Syria’s seven years of conflict have had devastating consequences, with hundreds of thousands of people dead and more than 4 million refugees. Would the story be different if the United Nations Security Council had managed to come to an agreement and deployed a peacekeeping operation (PKO) early in the conflict? Would a PKO have been… Read more »

Fewer Lives Being Lost in Conflicts

In 2017, approximately 90,000 people died as the direct result of armed conflict. This figure is down for the third year in a row, and is now 31 percent lower than in 2014. Nearly a third of all conflicts – and four of the 10 most serious wars worldwide – now involve a local division… Read more »

New Education Policy in Burundi Could Halve Teenage Pregnancy

As of 2014, the Burundi government has pledged that children can continue their basic schooling until grade 9. The fertility impact of this new schooling policy is potentially strong. However, there are three important elements in this story that are less well understood: what will be the magnitude of this new policy’s effect; what is… Read more »

The Long Peace Most Likely Began during the Vietnam War

Two statisticians at the University of Oslo have blown a hole in Steven Pinker’s famous theory that the Long Peace dates from 1945 onwards. But Pinker is excited about the new calculations, which suggest that this more peaceful period instead began in 1965 – during the Vietnam War. In his 2011 book, The Better Angels… Read more »

Norway – The Colonial Power

Imagine this. Close to a small lake, there is a little building. It has stood there for 120 years – ever since your ancestors, who lived off fishing and foraging, built it. Your grandmother brings you to this place to pass your people’s traditions on to you. You go there in order to preserve knowledge,… Read more »

New Mapping of Children Affected by Armed Conflict

This weekend, decision-makers from all over the world will come together to discuss current and future security challenges at the Munich Security Conference (MSC), which has become the major global forum for discussion of security policy. At the conference, Save the Children will launch its new report The War on Children: Time to End Grave… Read more »

Towards a More Peaceful World [insert ‘!’ or ‘?’ here]

Each war is dramatic and horrible and warrants a hundred history books and a thousand songs of sorrow. But it also provides one more data point, along with relevant covariates, to the collection of Tolstoyan war-and-peace data-bases, and statisticians may study the evolution of alleged decreasing violence levels over time. One of the bigger questions… Read more »

Grievances, Accommodation, and the Decline of Ethnic Violence

The finding that violent conflict has declined, especially after the Cold War, has generated a great deal of interest. Much of the initial debate focused on whether the claim itself is correct, but the finding itself seems robust in the sense that that the number and severity of violent conflicts has declined in most data… Read more »