Munich Personal RePEc Archive

New Wars in Numbers. An exploration of various datasets on intra-state violence.

Rigterink, Anouk S. (2012): New Wars in Numbers. An exploration of various datasets on intra-state violence.

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This paper investigates to what extent various data sources on violent conflict support the ‘New War’ thesis put forward by Mary Kaldor (2006). It presents two interpretations of the ‘New War’ thesis: (1) ‘New War’ characteristics are becoming relatively more prevalent in modern warfare; (2) measuring war in terms of ‘New War’ as opposed to ‘Old War’ characteristics matters for which variables are correlated to war. In concurrence with the ‘New War’ thesis, currently available data suggests that the ratio of civilian to military deaths from battle has increased significantly over the period 1946-2010, as has the violence against civilians over the period 1989-2010. Evidence on the participation of non-state combatants is mixed, although some evidence favouring the ‘New War’ thesis is found. Overall, the data supports the idea that the character of war has changed since 1946, on at least one aspect. There is no indication that these trends have intensified after the end of the Cold War. With regard to the second interpretation of the ‘New War’ thesis, a number of variables conventionally used to explain conflict are more strongly correlated to certain types of wars than others, but convincing patterns remain limited to a handful of variables.

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