Paul D. Lowry '16, Gettysburg College

Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2015


Political Science


Civil war dominates conflict in the modern era. An effect of this is a large number of refugees, who flee from war-torn countries in favor of lands where they can live in safety. This paper examines the extent to which the number of these refugees is affected by the number of civil wars a country has had in a year. Previous literature suggests that civil wars increase destruction in a state and threaten people’s lives, which encourages migration out of a warring country. Based on this, this paper hypothesizes that increasing the number of civil wars in a country will likewise increase the number of refugees leaving that country. However, this explanation is not supported by this paper’s OLS model, with respect for human rights and type of government being shown as more important factors than the number of civil conflicts. A possible reason for this finding is the destruction of critical transportation infrastructure resulting from civil war. The results of this study warrant further investigation into what exactly motivates refugee behavior, especially during civil wars.


This paper was written for Professor Caroline Hartzell's course, POL 351: Political Economy of Armed Conflict, Fall 2015.