Not Too Distant: Grievance, Opportunity, and the Onset of Civil War

Caleb Lucas, B. J. Appel, A. K. Prorok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grievance and opportunity theories dominate research on the causes of civil war. However, theoretical and empirical problems limit their ability to explain variation in conflict onset. We argue that these problems partly stem from treating them as largely independent explanations. We integrate grievance and opportunity into a unified theory and argue that they are complements that jointly predict conflict. We apply insights from the interstate war literature to develop and test a theory of conflict onset that argues that the probability of civil war increases as the disparity between relative power and the status quo distribution of benefits increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)497-523
Number of pages27
JournalCivil Wars
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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