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Social and Economic Costs

The costs of armed violence extend beyond the loss of human life and physical harm. Measuring the social and economic consequences of armed violence is complex given the variety of impacts that violence can have on a society. Nevertheless, it is possible to distinguish between the direct and indirect costs and consequences of armed violence.

Direct costs are immediate results of armed violence. They include:

  • ambulance fees and in-patient costs.
  • costs for policing and incarceration.
  • care provided to displaced people.  

Indirect costs are incurred as side effects of armed violence. They include:

  • the loss of productivity.
  • the depletion of social and physical capital.
  • the breakdown of basic social services.
  • the decline in the quality of life.

Small Arms Survey Publications

  • The Value of Hospital Data: Understanding and Preventing Intentional Injury in Liberia, by Lucie Collinson, Andrew Winnington, and Mary Vriniotis, January 2016. Working Paper No. 22.

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  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2015: Every Body Counts, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. Published by Cambridge University Press. May 2015.

    More information
  • Reducing Illicit Arms Flows and the New Development Agenda, March 2015. Research Note No. 50, Armed Violence.

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  • Every Body Counts: Measuring Violent Deaths, March 2015. Research Note No. 49, Armed Violence.

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  • Searching for Stability: Perceptions of Security, Justice, and Firearms in Libya, August 2014. Security Assessment in North Africa Issue Brief No. 1 (also available in Arabic)

    Download (318.61 KB)
  • Risky Business? Crime and Security Perceptions in the Nepali Private Sector, November 2013. Nepal Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 3 (Also available in Nepali)

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  • Non-lethal Firearm Violence, July 2013. Research Note No. 32, Armed Violence (also available in French).

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  • Guatemala en la encrucijada. Panorama de una violencia transformada (in Spanish), by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, CERAC, and the Small Arms Survey (Executive Summary in English and Spanish, and Press Release in English and Spanish also available). Published by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat and CERAC.

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  • Enquête nationale sur les armes légères et de petit calibre en Côte d'Ivoire: les défis du contrôle des armes et de la lutte contre la violence armée avant la crise post-électorale, by Savannah de Tessières, a joint publication of the UNDP, the Commission Nationale de Lutte contre la Prolifération et la Circulation Illicite des Armes Légères et de Petit Calibre, Côte d'Ivoire, and the Small Arms Survey, April 2012. Special Report No. 14 (Summary available in English).

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  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2011: Lethal Encounters, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat. Published by Cambridge University Press. October 2011.

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  • India's States of Armed Violence: Assessing the Human Cost and Political Priorities, September 2011. India Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 1 (Also available in Hindi)

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  • Reading between the Lines: Crime and Victimization in Liberia, September 2011. Liberia Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 2

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  • A Legacy of War? Perceptions of Security in Liberia, September 2011. Liberia Armed Violence Assessment Issue Brief No. 1

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  • 'Insecurity Is Also a War': An Assessment of Armed Violence in Burundi, by Stéphanie Pézard and Savannah de Tessières, October 2009 (also available in French)

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  • Firearm-related Violence in Mozambique, a joint publication of the Ministry of the Interior of Mozambique, the World Health Organization—Mozambique, and the Small Arms Survey, June 2009. Special Report No. 10

    Download (2.49 MB)
  • Gangs of Central America: Causes, Costs, and Interventions, by Dennis Rodgers, Robert Muggah, and Chris Stevenson, May 2009. Occasional Paper No. 23

    Download (369.59 KB)
  • Global Burden of Armed Violence 2008, by the Geneva Declaration Secretariat, September 2008.

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  • Crisis in Karamoja: Armed Violence and the Failure of Disarmament in Uganda’s Most Deprived Region, by James Bevan, June 2008. Occasional Paper No. 21 (Executive Summary also available)

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  • No Refuge: The Crisis of Refugee Militarization in Africa, edited by Robert Muggah, co-published with BICC, published by Zed Books, July 2006.

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  • Aproximación a la Situación de Violencia e Inseguridad en Bogotá D.C., by Katherine Aguirre and Jorge A. Restrepo with Simón Mesa and Nicolás Suárez, co-published with CERAC, July 2005.

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  • Armed and Aimless: Armed Groups, Guns, and Human Security in the ECOWAS Region, edited by Nicolas Florquin and Eric G. Berman, May 2005 (also available in French).

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  • Reconsidering the Tools of War: Small Arms and Humanitarian Action, by Robert Muggah with Martin Griffiths, co-published with the Humanitarian Practice Network, Overseas Development Institute, July 2002.

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