Greed,Grevince, and Opportunity

An Empirical Analysis of Violance in Civil Wars

  • Harrison Baile MacEwan University


Since the cold war, there has been an increase in the rate of civil wars and a dramatic drop in interstate wars. Arguably, intrastate wars are more devastating in loss of life, both civilian and military, then interstate wars. However, which type of intrastate war breeds the most battle deaths or the most civilian casualties?

This paper will use the Correlates of War Intrastate Wars dataset to determine the number of intrastate wars with battle deaths data. Each conflict is given a motivation variable based on its onset motivation. The motivations are either Greed, Grievance, or opportunity. The overall amount of battle deaths for each motivation will be compared and analyzed. From this analysis, the most violent motivation will be found and compared to the relevant theoretical framework to reach an explanation for the level of violence in certain types of intrastate wars.


Faculty Mentor: Jean-Christophe Boucher

Department: Political Science