Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Spring 2022

Department 1

Political Science


In this paper, I investigate the validity of the widely held assumption that high rates of youth unemployment will lead a state to experience internal armed conflict. I hypothesize that as youth unemployment rates increase, a state will have a larger number of internal armed conflicts occur annually. This can happen via three causal mechanisms: 1) opportunity cost calculations; 2) private frustrations, resentment, and feelings of stagnation turning into public grievances; 3) and emotional and psychological triggers leading to participation in violent insurgent activities. I find that while youth unemployment does have a statistically significant influence on the number of internal armed conflicts within a given state, other variables have a far greater effect. This research contributes to the growing body of literature arguing that the assumption above is empirically unsupported, and that more weight should be placed on other causal factors that have a far greater influence on the incidence of internal armed conflicts.


This paper was written for POL 351: The Political Economy of Armed Conflict

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.