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Counting Civilian CasualtiesAn Introduction to Recording and Estimating Nonmilitary Deaths in Conflict$
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Taylor B. Seybolt, Jay D. Aronson, and Baruch Fischhoff

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199977307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977307.001.0001

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MSE and Casualty Counts

MSE and Casualty Counts

Assumptions, Interpretation, and Challenges

Chapter:
(p.185) 10 MSE and Casualty Counts
Source:
Counting Civilian Casualties
Author(s):

Nicholas P. Jewell

Michael Spagat

Britta L. Jewell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199977307.003.0010

Capture-recapture techniques, developed to estimate the size of wildlife populations, are now used in the enumeration of elusive human populations to account for the appearance of individuals on overlapping lists. Unlike the applications familiar in wildlife or epidemiology studies, applications used by estimators of civilian casualties usually entail overlapping lists of recorded deaths. The chapter reviews assumptions and data requirements in using capture-recapture to enumerate civilian casualties in conflict zones and discusses the role of the number of lists in relaxing assumptions and the trade-off with the increased complexity of the necessary statistical modeling as the number of lists grows. Additional issues include assessment of uncertainty in estimates, and transparency in interpretation and reporting. Finally, the chapter compares multiple systems estimation with other approaches to casualty assessment in Kosovo and Peru, and discusses challenges to improving and validating capture-recapture methodology.

Keywords:   capture-recapture, multiple list estimation, multiple systems estimation, civilian casualties

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