Tracking the SDGs: A methodological note on measuring deaths caused by collective violence


  • Anke Hoeffler University of Konstanz, Germany
  • Frederike Kaiser University of Konstanz, Germany
  • Birke Pfeifle University of Konstanz, Germany
  • Flora Risse University of Konstanz, Germany



Collective Violence, Terrorism, Sustainable Development Goal, SDG, Methodology


As part of recording the progress toward promoting peaceful societies as envisioned in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, it is important to provide accurate estimates of violence-related deaths (SDG 16.1). These estimations face a number of methodological challenges, resulting in rather conservative estimates in the social sciences. In this article, we discuss SDG indicator 16.1.2 on conflict-related deaths, proposing its enlargement to cover different forms of collective violence. Various types of collective violence, their definition, measurement, and methods to combine them without double counting are reviewed. Comparing the Georeferenced Events Dataset (GED) to the Global Terrorism Database (GTD) shows that events of armed conflict and terrorism overlap to a certain degree. Our argument is that merging data from different event databases can provide a more accurate account of collective violence. We augment the GED data on organized armed conflict with data on terrorism—as a result, our estimates of the numbers of collective violence-related deaths are indeed significantly higher than suggested by GED (one of the most widely used databases in the social sciences).


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How to Cite

Hoeffler, A., Kaiser, F., Pfeifle, B., & Risse, F. (2022). Tracking the SDGs: A methodological note on measuring deaths caused by collective violence. The Economics of Peace and Security Journal, 17(2).




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