Civil war in the post-colonial world, 1946-92

Errol A. Henderson, J. David Singer

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In this article, we provide a systematic analysis of the extent to which political, economic, and cultural factors are associated with civil wars in the post-colonial states of Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Results of logistic regression analyses corroborate previous findings that semi-democracy is associated with an increased likelihood of civil war, while greater economic development reduces the probability of civil war. We also found that militarized post-colonial states are more likely to experience civil war, as are Asian - more than Middle Eastern and African - states. Among the political, economic, and cultural factors, semi-democracy has the greatest impact on the probability of civil war, which suggests the greater role of political - more than economic or cultural - factors in post-colonial civil wars. All told, the findings suggest that a multifaceted strategy of full democratization, demilitarization, and development is required to reduce the likelihood of civil war in post-colonial states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-299
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Peace Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Safety Research
  • Political Science and International Relations


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