Beyond Civil War:A Quantitative Examination of Causes of Violence within Countries

David E. Cunningham, Douglas Lemke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A large quantitative cross-national literature examines why countries are more or less likely to experience civil war. Many of the theories motivating hypotheses about civil war are really arguments about when violence will happen without necessarily explaining why this violence is organized or targets the state. In this article, we examine how variables identified as causing civil war affect other forms of internal violence such as communal conflict, one-sided violence, riots, purges, and coups d'état. We find that factors such as ethnic fractionalization, population, terrain, economic development, and regime type similarly affect different measures of violence. We suggest two avenues for further research – expanding beyond civil war to study determinants of violence within countries more broadly and focusing more directly both theoretically and empirically on the specific determinants of civil war.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-345
Number of pages18
JournalCivil Wars
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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