Patterns of Violence in Civil War - A Dataset

Working Paper


What explains variation in patterns of violence across time and space? Documenting patterns is critical for the study of political violence and the formation of related policy aimed at reducing its occurrence. However, there is little consistency in how “patterns of violence” is conceptualized or applied. Existing measures can be narrow, imprecise, or even incomplete as scholars often privilege the study of a single actor or form of contention over others using disparate datasets. I organize and integrate data from some of the most widely used conflict databases along the following dimensions - target, force, and magnitude and generate a novel patterns of violence (POV) dataset. The dataset catalogs 340,810 unique events for 1,591 actors in 33 civil wars in 26 countries. I demonstrate how this configuration, scaled across different spatial and temporal levels of analysis for different actors, can identify unique trends and heterogeneities in violence. This effort will improve our understanding of the interactive process of conflict and the ability to test theories on the causal mechanisms driving different patterns.

Timothy Jones
Timothy Jones
Ph.D. Candidate