Pilot Project for the Multi-dimensional Measurement of Militarisation

Since the invention of modern mass armies in the 1800s, the forms of organisation, political roles, economic influence, social functions of and the resources allocated to the military have been subject to continuous change. Nevertheless, the military remains a basic element of modern statehood in the twenty-first century. In the modern state, the military, with its coercive capacity and vast means of organised violence, is an essential power factor. With the so-called third wave of democratisation, the end of the Cold War and a period of prolonged interstate peace in Europe and Asia, the interest in militarism and militarisation subsided. Triggered by autocratic backlashes and the return of military coups in recent years, and, especially, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, militarisation seems to be becoming the defining Zeitgeist of a new 'post-post-Cold War era', which sparks new scientific interest in the topic.

However, despite a rich research tradition and a recently renewed interest in militarisation, the volume of cross-national empirical research on militarisation is thin. Further, although it is widely acknowledged that militarisation needs to be understood as a multi-dimensional concept, the scientific debate still lacks a discussion on how the different dimensions are linked to each other or what could be valid indicators to measure the extent to which societies are militarised in economic, social or political terms. While the last three decades have seen a boom in the development of social science indicators and indices, the empirical research on militarisation still lacks temporally and spatially comprehensive datasets to test theories about the causes, contours and consequences of militarisation. This project aims to fill this gap by compiling a Global Dataset on Multi-dimensional Measures of Militarization (M3), which covers the period from the end of the Cold War up-to 2021.


Project Partners (outside of BICC)

Aurel Croissant, Professor, Institute of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg
Nikitas Scheeder, PhD Candidate, Institute of Political Science at the University of Heidelberg
Roya Izadi, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science at the University of Rhode Island

Funded by

German Foundation for Peace Research

Duration of project

April 2022 until August 2023