Ultimate Consequences

A comprehensive database of deaths in Bolivian political conflict during the democratic era, 1982–present


Ultimate Consequences is a quantitative and qualitative database, unique in its depth and completeness of coverage, of all conflict deaths in Bolivia since October 1982, a period of largely elected governments and political dynamism. The database enables comparative analysis across twelve presidential administrations, four episodes where protesters successfully sought the end of a presidential term, and 192 protest events in 17 domains of conflict. As of November 2022, the project had identified 621 to 639 of these deaths, including those of 600 named individuals. The database is maintained as a Google Docs spreadsheet, which can be queried by R scripts, and whose reports can be generated internally or exported for further manual coding.

Due to the number of lethal events in the study period, the dataset is both large enough for quantitative research that analyzes patterns and small enough for qualitative, journalistic, and historical examination of the individual deaths involved. To serve these multiple purposes, we code information such as individuals’ relation to a specific social movement, protest campaign, cause of death, responsible parties, and location, and writing detailed narrative descriptions about major events.

The project draws on journalistic, advocacy, and scholarly sources to comprehensively document all deaths in political conflict, including those not readily categorizable as human rights violations. The project also seeks to ask more intimate, and cultural, questions about the role of risk, violence, sacrifice, and loss in transformative social change. As the database reveals, Bolivian protest can involve intense risk, privation, self-sacrifice, and either enduring or inflicting violence. Bolivian social movement traditions include proclamations of fearlessness and vows to carry on their struggles “until the ultimate consequences,” that is, to persist in collective measures and to refuse to be deterred by deadly state violence.

We are hard at work on creating simple tools to allow social scientists, oral historians, and human rights advocates to generate and access summary data and individual entries in the database to answer their own questions. In 2023, we will publicly release a R package that will allow researchers to search, query, and visualize the dataset, and multiple web-accessible views of the database.

This website is here to provide access to:

  • Background and documentation on the project such as descriptions of the project
  • Tools for visualizing the dataset on the web
  • (In 2023) Documentation on our R package for the project
  • (In 2023) Cited narrative descriptions of lethal conflict events
  • Archived copies of data pages produced using RMarkdown that with automatically generated statements and visualizations that document claims made our research articles.

Video introduction to the project