IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Explaining the onset of mass killing, 1949-87


  • Frank W. Wayman

    () (Department of Social Sciences, University of Michigan-Dearborn)

  • Atsushi Tago

    (Graduate School of Law, Kobe University)


This article aims to demonstrate that differences in the two major datasets can significantly affect the results of predictions of mass political killing. Mass political killing (such as Hitler's killing of some six million Jews, or the Rwanda genocide of 1994) has been studied for decades with the aid of valuable datasets measuring 'democide' and 'genocide and politicide', respectively. Without attempting to take sides as to whether one or the other is a more valid measure of the phenomenon of mass political killing, the authors aim in this investigation to see what independent variables best account for the onset of mass political killing, with the state-year as the unit of analysis. The predictor variables are level of economic development; types of war and violent unrest short of war; and regime type. By using a Cox proportional hazard model, the authors find that important regime effects either appear or disappear depending on the dataset used, with regime generally having a significant effect on onset of democide, but not having a significant effect on onset of geno-politicide. It is important for the scholarly community to be aware of these dataset effects, which may be the source of some of the most important existing controversies in the literature on explaining mass political killing.

Suggested Citation

  • Frank W. Wayman & Atsushi Tago, 2010. "Explaining the onset of mass killing, 1949-87," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(1), pages 3-13, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:1:p:3-13

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Frances Stewart, 2011. "Economic and Political Causes of Genocidal Violence: A comparison with findings on the causes of civil war," Research Working Papers 46, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
    2. McDoom, Omar, 2012. "Predicting Violence within Genocides: Meso-level Evidence from Rwanda," WIDER Working Paper Series 106, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Anderton Charles H. & Carter John R., 2015. "A New Look at Weak State Conditions and Genocide Risk," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 21(1), pages 1-36, January.
    4. Exenberger Andreas & Pondorfer Andreas, 2013. "Climate Change and the Risk of Mass Violence: Africa in the 21st Century," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 19(3), pages 381-392, December.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:47:y:2010:i:1:p:3-13. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (SAGE Publications). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.