Jonas Vestby

Senior Researcher

Jonas Vestby
Twitter: @JonasVestby


​​​I am interested in how we can learn from quantitative data in social sciences, especially data with a strong spatio-temporal component. Recurrent themes are modeling social phenomena, causal inference, forecasting and data quality.

I am currently working on projects that study the relationships between climate, climate change, agricultural performance and various conflict outcomes. My Phd, which I defended in March 2018 was entitled "Climate, development, and conflict: Learning from the past and mapping uncertainties of the future". The main conclusion in the dissertation was that causal effects of climate variability on conflict is dependent on context and conflict type. 

Particularly, conflict types where organized actors challenging capable state militaries tend not to be affected. Rather, effects can be observed when violence is used for material gains in areas of limited statehood. When thinking about future effects of climate change on conflict, it is just as important to think about how the context will change as how climate exposure will change. The Phd also identify several methodological issues related to causal inference, and attempt to solve some of these.

Languages spoken:

Norwegian and English.


2018: Phd, Political Science, University of Oslo.

2010-2012: MA, Political Science, University of Oslo.

2004-2007: BA, International Politics and Philosophy. NTNU and Univ. of Oslo.


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All Publications

Peer-reviewed Journal Article

Vestby, Jonas; Jürgen Brandsch; Vilde Bergstad Larsen; Peder Landsverk & Andreas Forø Tollefsen (2022) Predicting (de-)Escalation of Sub-National Violence Using Gradient Boosting: Does It Work?, International Interactions. DOI: 10.1080/03050629.2022.2021198.
Vestby, Jonas; Halvard Buhaug & Nina von Uexkull (2021) Why do some poor countries see armed conflict while others do not? A dual sector approach, World Development 138: 105273–.
Schutte, Sebastian; Jonas Vestby; Jørgen Carling & Halvard Buhaug (2021) Climatic conditions are weak predictors of asylum migration, Nature Communications 12: 2067–.
Buhaug, Halvard & Jonas Vestby (2019) On Growth Projections in the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways, Global Environmental Politics 19(4): 118–132.
Vestby, Annette & Jonas Vestby (2019) Machine Learning and the Police: Asking the Right Questions, Policing: a Journal of Policy and Practice. DOI: 10.1093/police/paz035.
Vestby, Jonas (2019) Climate variability and individual motivations for participating in political violence, Global Environment Change 56: 114–123.
Hegre, Håvard; Marie Allansson; Matthias Basedau; Michael Colaresi; Mihai Croicu; Hanne Fjelde; Frederick Hoyles; Lisa Hultman; Stina Högbladh; Remco Jansen; Naima Mouhleb; Sayyed Auwn Muhammad; Desirée Nilsson; Håvard Mokleiv Nygård; Gudlaug Olafsdottir; Kristina Petrova; David Randahl; Espen Geelmuyden Rød; Gerald Schneider; Nina von Uexkull & Jonas Vestby (2019) ViEWS: A political Violence Early-Warning System, Journal of Peace Research 56(2): 155–174.
Vestby, Jonas; Siri Aas Rustad & Monika Salmivalli (2017) Identifying the effect of climate variability on communal conflict through randomization, Climatic Change. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-017-1914-3.
Hegre, Håvard; Halvard Buhaug; Katherine V. Calvin; Jonas Nordkvelle; Stephanie T. Waldhoff & Elisabeth Gilmore (2016) Forecasting civil conflict along the shared socioeconomic pathways, Environmental Research Letters 11(5): 054002.
Buhaug, Halvard; Jonas Nordkvelle; Thomas Bernauer; Tobias Böhmelt; Michael Brzoska; Joshua W. Busby; Antonio Ciccone; Hanne Fjelde; Erik Gartzke; Nils Petter Gleditsch; Jack A. Goldstone; Håvard Hegre; Helge Holtermann; Vally Koubi; Jasmin S. A. Link; Peter Michael Link; Päivi Lujala; John O'Loughlin; Clionadh Raleigh; Jürgen Scheffran; Janpeter Schilling; Todd G. Smith; Ole Magnus Theisen; Richard S. J. Tol; Henrik Urdal & Nina von Uexkull (2014) One effect to rule them all? A comment on climate and conflict, Climatic Change 127(3): 391–397.
Gleditsch, Nils Petter; Jonas Vestby & Håvard Strand (2014) Peace research – Just the study of war?, Journal of Peace Research 51(2): 145–158.

PhD Thesis

Vestby, Jonas (2018) Climate, development, and conflict: Learning from the past and mapping uncertainties of the future. PhD thesis, Department of Political Science, University of Oslo, Oslo.

Popular Article

Vestby, Jonas; Ida Rudolfsen & Halvard Buhaug (2018) Does hunger cause conflict?, PRIO Climate & Conflict Blog, 18 May.
Vestby, Jonas; Ida Rudolfsen & Halvard Buhaug (2018) Fører matmangel til mer krig? [Does food insecurity lead to conflict?], Bistandsaktuelt, 27 April.

PRIO Paper

Buhaug, Halvard & Jonas Nordkvelle (2014) Climate and conflict: A Comment on Hsiang et al.'s Reply to Buhaug et al., PRIO Paper. Oslo: Peace Research Institute Oslo.

Report - External Series

Vestby, Jonas; Andreas Forø Tollefsen; & Halvard Buhaug (2022) Climate and International Migration Flows: A Sensitivity Analysis of Gravity Model Specifications, QuantMig Background Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

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