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Read More about Measuring Peace ....

The nine topics of the nine chapters of the Online Journal for Modern Peacebuilding and Nonviolence are linked thematically as much as they are complex topics in their own right. The purpose of this side note is two-fold - to first remind us of those interlinkages and then to explore this topic in greater depth to provide greater explanation for the interlinkages.

Take Note ....

In the following chapters we discuss the important parallels of Peacebuilding to the UN Program for a Culture of Peace, and the emerging importance of a movement to scientifically measure peacefulness to provide guidelines for Peacebuilding planning. We discuss the relationship of Peacebuilding to nonviolence - how nonviolence is the core nature of peace, and how the study of Peacebuilding leads to the study of five levels of nonviolent action. We also discuss important parallels and interrelations of Peacebuilding to both individual psychology and to social and sustainable development. Finally we discuss the indispensable place of disarmament in Peacebuilding - in that studies show how the prevalence of guns makes everything worse - crime, domestic abuse, even accidents - even fatal. Therefore it is essential that weapons be strongly regulated. This is a single theory with Peacebuilding at its center - the idea that you must have equality, justice, inclusiveness and strong democratic institutions in order for peace to last - but that has myriads of detailed facets reflecting the diversity of locations and cultures and histories found across the world. The unified theory is explained in our summary document - Modern Peacebuilding and Nonviolence: Creating Peace that Lasts, while the myriad of details is reflected in our growing body of papers, blogs, videos and expert resources that are found in each chapter.

(and now more detail on this topic: excerpted from Modern Peacebuilding and Nonviolence: Creating Peace that Lasts, by David Kirshbaum….)

Chapter 6. Scientific Measurement of Peace

Ideally, scientifically measuring peacefulness should provide guidance to peacebuilders about what to fix and what doesn’t need fixing which would probably make their efforts more effective.

The leading proponent of measuring peacefulness is the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP), based in Sydney, Australia. IEP was started by IT billionaire Steve Killilea in 2007(35).

IEP has created two measures of peacefulness:

  • Global Peace Index (GPI) - measures peacefulness utilizing 24 well-established socio-economic measures yielding a single total, which has been criticized for being too simplistic.

  • Positive Peace Index (PPI) - measures peacefulness utilizing 24 well-established socio-economic measures yielding a complex 8 part socio-economic profile of peacefulness.

The GPI came first. Then came the PPI which provides much more robust results. PPI analysis yields measures in 8 socio-economic areas which together provide a complex multi-dimensional picture of peacefulness. The 8 socio-economic dimensions and the tests behind them (they call them Indicators) are:


Positive Peace Index - Measuring Socio-Economic Factors of Peacefulness

  • Well-functioning Government – a well-functioning government delivers high-quality public and civil services, engenders trust and participation, demonstrates political stability and upholds the rule of law.

    • Political Democracy Index (The Economist Intelligence Unit)

    • Government Effectiveness Estimate (World Bank)

    • Rule-of-Law Estimate (Bertelsmann Transformation Index)

  • Sound Business Environment – the strength of economic conditions as well as the formal institutions that support the operation of the private sector. Business competitiveness and economic productivity are both associated with the most peaceful countries.

    • Starting a Business (World Bank)

    • Maintaining a Business (World Bank)

    • GDP per Capita (current US$) (International Monetary Fund)

  • Equitable Distribution of Resources – peaceful countries tend to ensure equity in access to resources such as education, health, and to a lesser extent, equity in income distribution.

    • Inequality-Adjusted Life Expectancy Index (United Nations Development Program)

    • Poverty Headcount Ration at $5.50 per day (2011 PPP) (% of population) (World Bank)

    • Equal Distribution of Resources Index (Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem))

  • Acceptance of the Rights of Others – peaceful countries often have formal laws that guarantee basic human rights and freedoms, and the informal social and cultural norms that relate to behaviours of citizens.

    • Gender Inequality Index (UNDP)

    • Group Grievance Measure (Fragile States Index)

    • Exclusion by Socio-Economic Group (Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem))

  • Good Relations with Neighbours – peaceful relations with other countries are as important as good relations between groups within a country. Countries with positive external relations are more peaceful and tend to be more politically stable, have better functioning governments, are regionally integrated and have lower levels of organised internal conflict.

    • Hostility to Foreigners/Private Property (The Economist Intelligence Unit)

    • International Tourism, Number of Arrivals (per 100,000) (World Tourism Organization)

    • Regional Integration (The Economist Intelligence Unit)

  • Free Flow of Information – free and independent media disseminates information in a way that leads to greater knowledge and helps individuals, businesses and civil society make better decisions. This leads to better outcomes and more rational responses in times of crisis.

    • Freedom of the Press (Freedom House)

    • Quality of Information (Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem))

    • Individuals Using the Internet (% of population) (International Telecommunications Union)

  • High Levels of Human Capital – a skilled human capital base reflects the extent to which societies educate citizens and promote the development of knowledge, thereby improving economic productivity, care for the young, political participation and social capital.

    • Share of Youth not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET) (%) (International Labour Organization)

    • Researchers in R&D (per million people) (UNESCO)

    • Healthy Life Expectancy (HALE) at Birth (years) (World Health Organization)

  • Low Levels of Corruption - in societies with high levels of corruption, resources are inefficiently allocated, often leading to a lack of funding for essential services and civil unrest. Low corruption can enhance confidence and trust in institutions.

    • Control of Corruption (World Bank)

    • Factionalized Elites (Fragile States Index)

    • Irregular Payments and Bribes (World Economic Forum)

Institute for Economics & Peace. Positive Peace Report 2020: analysing the factors that sustain peace, Sydney, December 2020. Available from: (accessed Date Month Year).


In this way IEP has built a solid data-driven approach to measuring and analyzing peacefulness.

Relevant to the measurement of socio-economic factors behind peacefulness is the understanding at the UN that lasting peace and lasting prosperity are interrelated and interdependent - that you cannot have one without the other. For example, stores and businesses cannot operate and grow if there is dangerous violence in the streets around them, and peace will not last if citizens don’t feel a sense of a secure financial future for their families and children. This interrelation is measured by the PPI from IEP.

Another approach was developed by the Barrett Values System(34) that used their well-established and verified methodology of measuring and evaluating the values held by the members of a given organization to see if they believed in a culture of peace or not.

The Barrett System measures the values of a given organization, community or country utilizing 3 parameters ((1) current values of individual members, (2) perceived values of the group, and (3) ideal values the group should have) and through advanced statistical analysis produces a complex profile of the groups culture and functioning(36), and then in comparison to a carefully picked set of values of a culture of peace, the Barrett System adds a layer of analysis to the cultural profile that describes how peaceful the group is, and how it could be improved.

The Barrett Value Centre worked with Nonviolence International for two years on this project beginning in 2018, but then abandoned it for financial reasons.

Two UN measuring instruments for peacekeeping situations are the(20):

  • Integrated Mission Planning Process Toolkit (IMPP)

  • Post-Conflict Needs Assessment - Transitional Results Framework (PCNA-TRF)

The hope is that as our understanding deepens of social, economic, cultural and political factors and their interrelations, then we will better understand how to design and apply peacekeeping and Peacebuilding programs to making a peaceful society with prosperity and security for all.

To read more articles and watch videos about this topic, check out the


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