Econometric and Data Discussion Papers

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EDDP/2002-01: PDF (155kB).
Paul Collier and Anke Hoeffler. Data Issues in the Study of Conflict.

We review the data availability for the study of violent conflicts in a panel data framework. We concentrate on three main issues. We discuss different definitions of civil wars and measures of their severity. Battle related death thresholds are commonly used to define violent conflict. We suggest that this method is most suited to the analysis of the causes of war. Data on the duration of conflicts very much depends on the definition of civil war used. Recently collected data on trigger events and on international interventions will help to analyse the start and end of civil wars in more detail. Furthermore, we discuss the data availability on the human cost of conflicts as well as on the geographical spread of the conflict. In contrast to the analysis of the causes and duration of civil wars there is very little data available to investigate the sustainability of peace in post-conflict societies. Many policy variables are not sufficiently detailed to distinguish between different legal, economic and policy reforms. Lastly, we highlight the problems regarding the use of military expenditure data. There is no authoritative source for worldwide military expenditures available and we encourage a new data collection effort facilitating further research of the demand for military expenditures.