A look to the future

Most research is backward-looking, trying to explain past trends and events. In a new article that’s just out, we use information about socioeconomic drivers of contemporary civil conflict to simulate future conflict trajectories along five alternative scenarios, known as the shared socioeconomic pathways. Unsurprisingly, we find that a future world with high population growth and limited or unequal distribution of economic growth is associated with a heavy conflict burden. A more optimistic scenario, in which population growth is controlled and where economic development is oriented toward sustainable technology and human capital, is associated with a more peaceful world. Importantly, our simulations show that education improvements and sustained economic growth in the global South is much more important to preserve peace than further accumulation of wealth among developed countries.

Hegre, Håvard, Halvard Buhaug, Katherine V. Calvin, Jonas Nordkvelle, Stephanie T. Waldhoff, and Elisabeth Gilmore. 2016. Forecasting civil conflict along the shared socioeconomic pathways. Environmental Research Letters 11(5): 054002.  [Open Access]