The Increasing Incidence of Civil Wars in Sub-Saharan Africa: Assessing the Role of Democratization and Age Structure

Sarah E. Staveteig, University of California, Berkeley

During the 1990s, sub-Saharan Africa experienced an increased incidence of civil war. Collier & Hoeffler (2002) find that worsening economic conditions during the period help account for this trend. This paper extends their analysis by focusing on the role of governance and youthful age structure in civil war onset. A combined model of youthful age structure, polity scores, and economic conditions is applied to data on the worldwide incidence of civil wars from 1961 to 2001. I find that exogenous changes in democratization and youthful age structure contributed to the rising incidence of civil war in sub-Saharan Africa during the 1990s. This is true even after accounting for economic conditions. My finding is consistent with literature suggesting that large incoming cohorts of young adults who cannot be sufficiently accommodated by the labor market and educational system experience increased dissatisfaction and alienation which in turn increase the likelihood of civil unrest.

  See paper

Presented in Session 74: Demography of Armed Conflict