Class Year


Document Type

Student Research Paper

Date of Creation

Fall 2015

Department 1

Political Science


The effects of economic development are enormously important in understanding the causes of civil war and the requirements for successful post-conflict reconstruction. In recent decades we have seen an increase in the number of civil wars because of a phenomenon known as the conflict trap. I question why we see an increase in civil wars and what role unstable economic development plays in contributing to the conflict trap. This paper offers evidence to support the hypothesis that uneven economic development increases the risk of multiple civil wars occurring in a short amount of time. Based on the results of testing my hypothesis I suggest that the conflict trap can be broken, and the risk of civil war decreased, when economic growth is stabilized. I suggest participation in the global economic community as a mechanism for stabilizing economic growth.


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