Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 983
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Aguirre, Alvaro 2016. The risk of civil conflicts as a determinant of political institutions. European Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 42, p. 36.

    Aguirre, Alvaro 2016. Fiscal Policy and Civil Conflict in Africa. Journal of African Economies,

    Alario, Margarita V. Nath, Leda and Carlton-Ford, Steve 2016. Climatic disruptions, natural resources, and conflict: the challenges to governance. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Vol. 6, Issue. 2, p. 251.

    Alesina, Alberto Harnoss, Johann and Rapoport, Hillel 2016. Birthplace diversity and economic prosperity. Journal of Economic Growth, Vol. 21, Issue. 2, p. 101.

    Arva, Bryan J. and Piazza, James A. 2016. Spatial Distribution of Minority Communities and Terrorism: Domestic Concentration versus Transnational Dispersion. Defence and Peace Economics, Vol. 27, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Asal, Victor Deloughery, Kathleen and Sin, Steve 2016. Democracy, Inclusion, and Failure in CounterInsurgency. Foreign Policy Analysis, p. orw018.

    Ash, Konstantin 2016. Threats to Leaders’ Political Survival and Pro-Government Militia Formation. International Interactions, p. 1.

    Axbard, Sebastian 2016. Income Opportunities and Sea Piracy in Indonesia: Evidence from Satellite Data†. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, Vol. 8, Issue. 2, p. 154.

    Ayana, Essayas K. Ceccato, Pietro Fisher, Jonathan R.B. and DeFries, Ruth 2016. Examining the relationship between environmental factors and conflict in pastoralist areas of East Africa. Science of The Total Environment, Vol. 557-558, p. 601.

    Bah, Mamadou Diouma 2016. Stability in deeply divided societies: escaping ethnic-based armed conflict in Guinea. African Identities, p. 1.

    Bakaki, Zorzeta and Hinkkainen, Kaisa 2016. Do child soldiers influence UN Peacekeeping?. International Peacekeeping, Vol. 23, Issue. 4, p. 540.

    Bakaki, Zorzeta 2016. Fossil Fuel Rents: Who Initiates International Crises?. Peace Economics, Peace Science and Public Policy, Vol. 22, Issue. 2,

    Baker, Andy Scarritt, James R. and Mozaffar, Shaheen 2016. Ethnopolitical demography and democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. Democratization, Vol. 23, Issue. 5, p. 838.

    Bang, James T. and Mitra, Aniruddha 2016. Institutions, information, and commitment: the role of democracy in conflict. Defence and Peace Economics, p. 1.

    Bapat, Navin A. and Zeigler, Sean 2016. Terrorism, Dynamic Commitment Problems, and Military Conflict. American Journal of Political Science, Vol. 60, Issue. 2, p. 337.

    Bas, Muhammet A. and McLean, Elena V. 2016. Natural Disasters and the Size of Nations. International Interactions, p. 1.

    Batchom, Paul Elvic 2016. La guerre civile « transfrontalière » : note introductive et provisoire sur les fortunes contemporaines de la guerre civile. Politique et Sociétés, Vol. 35, Issue. 1, p. 103.

    Baudains, Peter Belur, Jyoti Braithwaite, Alex Marchione, Elio and Johnson, Shane D. 2016. Global Dynamics.

    Beger, Andreas Dorff, Cassy L. and Ward, Michael D. 2016. Irregular leadership changes in 2014: Forecasts using ensemble, split-population duration models. International Journal of Forecasting, Vol. 32, Issue. 1, p. 98.

    Béjar, Sergio and Moraes, Juan Andrés 2016. The International Monetary Fund, Party System Institutionalization, and Protest in Latin America. Latin American Politics and Society, Vol. 58, Issue. 2, p. 26.


Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War

  • JAMES D. FEARON (a1) and DAVID D. LAITIN (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 February 2003

An influential conventional wisdom holds that civil wars proliferated rapidly with the end of the Cold War and that the root cause of many or most of these has been ethnic and religious antagonisms. We show that the current prevalence of internal war is mainly the result of a steady accumulation of protracted conflicts since the 1950s and 1960s rather than a sudden change associated with a new, post-Cold War international system. We also find that after controlling for per capita income, more ethnically or religiously diverse countries have been no more likely to experience significant civil violence in this period. We argue for understanding civil war in this period in terms of insurgency or rural guerrilla warfare, a particular form of military practice that can be harnessed to diverse political agendas. The factors that explain which countries have been at risk for civil war are not their ethnic or religious characteristics but rather the conditions that favor insurgency. These include poverty—which marks financially and bureaucratically weak states and also favors rebel recruitment—political instability, rough terrain, and large populations.We wish to thank the many people who provided comments on earlier versions of this paper in a series of seminar presentations. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Science Foundation (Grants SES-9876477 and SES-9876530); support from the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences with funds from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; valuable research assistance from Ebru Erdem, Nikolay Marinov, Quinn Mecham, David Patel, and TQ Shang; sharing of data by Paul Collier.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *