Are Civil Wars more Likely in Less Developed Countries?

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A civil war in a country by and large destroys the communities, government organizations and its whole operating body. It is the war between the organizations, political groups, and government institutes in a country who want their control over the people. It can be the struggle for rights but not true in all the cases. The public groups in the civil wars protest against the government institutes to get their rights by using the force. The civil wars work against the peace and harmony of the people (Hegre 2001). People have been losing their lives in the civil wars against the government under the control of pressure groups. Usually, the less developed countries are more prone to civil wars because people there do not get the basic living rights (FAYE et al. 2004). They morally become weak due to the pressure of poverty and unemployment. The economic crisis of underdeveloped countries usually makes the country weak from the inside which moves towards the destruction of the institutes and breaking down of the political setup (Fearon & Laitin 2003). The international aid and other financial incentives from the world wealthy countries can save the people from moving towards the civil war destruction. Using the aid, the government of underdeveloped countries could inaugurate new small industries which will provide employment to the people and ultimately the poverty will be reduced day by day (Elbadawi & Sambanis 2000). They can give the aid money back when they start making money. This is the best technique for eliminating the civil war trend in economically disturbed countries (Papanek 1972).


When explored the literature, the theorists, researchers and renowned critics explain all the facts and reasons behind the civil war. The researches related to the civil war demonstrate that the poverty, unavailability of basic human rights and unemployment are the reasons behind the civil war. The civil war is the form of protest against the present political rule but as the time passes this protest converts into the severe bloodshed and the destruction of the economic life of the people. The societies which move towards civil wars usually lose their solidarity and respect in the world. The question that arises is: Is poverty the reason behind the civil war in less developed countries? A research by Alexander and Harding (2006) concluded that when a country's geographical location and the income resources are considered, it can thus be deduced that the poverty can be a strong reason behind the civil wars. In the post world war II era, the European colonies had to face catastrophic civil wars because of the upheaval in financial resources. The rebel groups usually find the reason to motivate people, especially those who are tired of a hard and poor life, to fight against the present political setup (HANAOKA, KAWASAKI & Kawai 2013). Therefore, it is an obligation of political government to control the reasons of civil wars in order to save a nation satte from intense destruction, which will not be good for anyone. Holtermann (2012) also supported the effect of poverty on the civil war. He explained that two reasons are important to consider this fact. First one is the poverty which facilitates the path of criticism to the government and the second one is unjustifiable state power. Excessive state power stirs rebellion among the masses and people think that they can do only one thing to protect themselves that is civil war, in order to snatch the rights from those who are not willing to give them. In less developed countries, GDP per capita becomes as low as a common person cannot survive easily in any case. It becomes indispensable for him to use illegal means and get money to support his family. Moreover, a vast study exhibits the economic turmoil one of the main reasons of civil wars. Collier (1999) developed the model of economic effects of civil war and the post-war period. In his model, he tested the data taken about the old civil wars since 1960. After analyzing the data comprehensively, he proposed that in all the past civil wars the economic problems were the main reason, especially in long term civil wars in less developed countries. In his research studies, he explained that the civil wars could come to a halt if the government works effeciantly to eradicate the basic problems of the people. For the past many years, the debate has started among political theorists and thinkers related to the reasons behind the civil wars. Rice, Graff & Lewis (2006) worked together and found that rebel greed, topography, ethnicity and political opposition are the secondary reasons of the civil war. The studies concluded that the poverty and low income resources are forcing the people to move towards the civil wars. In Iraq, Zaire and other middle east and African countries, poverty is causing the civil wars. In all these countries people are living a miserable life which instigate them to initiate civil wars.

Theoretical Formulation of Research Problem

The literature review identifies that mostly less developed countries are facing the threats of civil wars all over the world. When people live in a miserable and difficult life situation then they surely think about the illegal ways to get right from the existing situation. Thus, the civil wars seem to occur because of the poverty and high economic crisis.

Problem Statement

Civil wars more likely in less developed countries of the world.

Research Questions (Hypotheses)

The civil wars are more likely in less developed countries. The civil wars are not more likely in less developed countries.

Theoretical Framework

As indicated by the main research topic itself, the two primary variables are defined as: Independent Variable: Civil war Dependent Variable: Less developed country Further, the Control Variables are political system, education level and island.

Research Methodology

Attempting to find the relationship between the less developed countries and the civil wars, the data is collected from various sources. This data is mostly taken from the Middle East countries like Syria, Iraq and other African countries who are struggling for the survival of life. After the collection of data, the analysis is applied to them. In this analysis, the GDP per capita is examined in detail. The data is gathered from the online resources and from the country poverty reports. The quantitative method is applied which finds the relationship between the civil wars and the poverty situations in less developed countries. This quantitative analysis is very useful to examine the poverty rate, economic crisis, financial resources details and unemployment.

Target population

The target population is the African countries who are less developed than other countries of the world. The people are dying day by day from the insufficient food, health and shelter facilities. The disease rate is high in the African countries when compared to other under-developed countries and people are dying of hunger and deadly diseases. Togo, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Niger, Congo and Burundi are facing the civil and tribal wars because their GDP per capital is low and moving around $600 to $800.

Data Collection

The data for the proposed research is taken from the online research related to the six different African countries. The information and values related to human development value and ranking, education rate, life security, GDP per capita and duration of the Civil wars in African countries, from the World War I to 2004, are given below.

Table 1:

HDI Rank Country HDI GDP per capita Life Security Education Wars Start War End
172 Niger 0.28 746 0.34 0.16 1916,1990 1917,1995
171 Burundi 0.31 591 0.26 0.38 04/1972,08/1988,2002 12/1973,08/1988,2004
163 Malawi 0.40 615 0.25 0.65 7/1914 11/1918
173 Sierra Leone 0.28 490 0.23 0.33 03/1991,05/1997 11/1996,07/1999
155 Congo 0.43 765 0.44 0.51 1997 10/1999
141 Togo 0.49 1442 0.45 0.59 7/1991 9/1992

Human development, education and GDP per capita in African less developed countries[1] and Civil wars duration

Sample Size

Sample Size is six different countries of Africa which are surviving on less GDP per Capita. The data is selected from the First World War to 2004.

Data Analysis

The statistic regression techniques can be used to find the civil wars ratio to the human development value in less developed countries in the world.

Answering the Research Questions

The results and the data prove that all the above less developed countries have faced the civil wars over time. The main causes of these civil wars were poverty and low GDP per capita. Thus, the first assumption is correct which says that the civil wars are more likely in less developed countries. It was the reality of the past and it exists today.

Comparison with Early Research

The early research related to the civil wars factor also supports the answers of our research studies. In the paper, Greed and grievance in Civil War, Collier and Hoeffler (2004) by applying the regression analysis of the underdeveloped countries GDP, education and poverty data with the duration of civil wars proposed that the civil wars are because of the poor human development in the countries of the world. This analysis that was conducted ten years ago is even applicable in today's world, in the Middle East countries and poor African countries.


The Civil wars are the serious topic of discussion for the past many years. After the World War I, the countries have been divided from inside due to civil wars. The research studies showed that the outbreaks of civil wars are mostly among the less developed countries. In this proposed research studies and data collection, it is clearly explained that the countries having a low GDP, poor education ratio and low human development ranking are facing Civil wars. The Sample data was consisted of the six African countries that are having the low HDI ranking in the world. These six countries have faced more than three civil wars individually. And this is not the end; these countries are in the same miserable condition even today. It is thus proposed that the political system, education and human development can change the prevailing poor situation. The rich countries of the world should provide the financial aid to the less developed countries to change their situation and save the world from further conflicted condition. However, the proposed research study has some limitations. The data, facts and figures are taken only from online sources that could be at variance in actuality. Moreover, the selection of six countries also limits the scope of this research. If more countries are added in sample size, then the statistic result will vary with small differences. However, the conclusion remains the same which says that civil wars are more likely to occur in less developed countries.


  1. Alexander, M & Harding, MC 2006, 'Is poverty to blame for civil war?New evidence from nonlinear ects estimation, Harvard University. Collier, P 1999,
  2. 'On the economic consequences of civil war', Oxford Economic Papers, vol 51, no. 1, pp. 168-183. Collier, P & Hoeffler, A 2004, 'Greed and grievance in civil war', Oxford Economic Papers, vol 56, pp. 563-595.
  3. Elbadawi, E & Sambanis, N 2000, 'Why are there so many civil wars in Africa? Understanding and preventing violent conflict', Journal of African Economics, vol 9, no. 3, pp. 244-269.
  4. FAYE, ML, MCARTHUR, JW, SACHS, JD & SNOW, T 2004, 'The Challenges Facing Landlocked Developing', Journal of Human Development, vol 5, no. 1. Fearon, JD & Laitin, DD 2003,
  5. 'Ethnicity, insurgency, and civil war', American political science review, vol 97, no. 1, pp. 75-90.
  6. HANAOKA, S, KAWASAKI, T & Kawai, H 2013, 'Classification of the Type of Inland Freight Transport in Landlocked Countries', Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, vol 9. Hegre, H 2001,
  7. 'Toward a democratic civil peace? Democracy, political change, and civil war, 1816–1992', American Political Science Association, vol 95, no. 1, pp. 33-48.
  8. Holtermann, H 2012, 'Explaining the Development–Civil War Relationship', Conflict Management and Peace Science, vol 29, no. 1, pp. 56-78.
  9. Papanek, GF 1972, 'The effect of aid and other resource transfers on savings and growth in less developed countries', The Economic Journal, pp. 934-950. Rice,
  10. SE, Graff, C & Lewis, J 2006, 'Poverty and Civil War:What PoliCymakers need to knoW', Foreign Policy Studies Programs, The Brookings insTiTuTion.
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Are Civil Wars More Likely in Less Developed Countries?. (2017, Jun 26). Retrieved September 23, 2023 , from

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