Introducing a new dataset on leadership change in rebel groups, 1946–2010

Carmela Lutmar, Lesley G. Terris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leaders and leadership changes are found to influence states’ foreign policy decisions, in particular with respect to war and peace between states. Although this issue is also addressed in the qualitative literature on intrastate wars, the influence of leadership turnovers in civil war has received limited systematic attention. One reason for this is the scarcity of quantitative data on rebel group leaderships. To fill this gap, we present a comprehensive dataset on leadership changes in rebel groups, 1946–2010, organized by rebel-month. The effects of leadership changes among parties engaged in civil war are argued to be more complex than those found in interstate disputes. In this article we present our theoretical argument followed by presentation of the variables in the dataset and descriptive statistics. To demonstrate the potential research value of the dataset we examine the impact of leader shifts on civil war settlement in Africa. We conclude with avenues for future research which might benefit from this dataset.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-315
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • civil war settlement
  • civil wars
  • leader change triggers
  • leadership change
  • rebel goals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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