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Kristian Lum on capture-recapture

Professor Spagat interviews Kristian Lum about the application of capture-recapture methods to the estimation of war-death patterns.

In this clip I interview Kristian Lum, lead statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group.

I underline here what I view as Kristian’s main point in this interview. She believes that the primary contribution the field of statistics can make to the field of war-death accounting is to help us understand violence patterns. These can be patterns over time, space, characteristics of perpetrators and victims or other features we might be interested in. She argues that the true contours of these patterns may get distorted in even high-quality casualty recording projects. However, she continues, capture-recapture estimation can reduce such distortions.

So Kristian does not view the estimation of the total number of deaths as the most important thing. She is much more interested in understanding patterns.

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Accounting for Death in War: Separating Fact from Fiction

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