This study seeks to determine what factors impact the estimated size of a violent non-state armed group. The literature is replete with theories regarding mobilization and recruitment of such groups. Unfortunately, there’s little consensus as to which factors matter, let alone which factors matter most in shaping this outcome. Among the factors that are hypothesized to affect the recruitment potential of violent non-state armed groups are: (1) demographic pressures, such as rapid urbanization or youth bulges; (2) the sociopolitical environment, including the strength of state institutions; and (3) economic opportunities, such as levels of education and unemployment, as well as the availability of natural resources. This study uses regression analysis to determine which of the above factors have a significant impact on the size of violent non-state armed groups. The overall conclusion was that the youth bulge variable mattered most in the reduction of the estimated size of a rebel group. On the other hand, population growth mattered the most for the increase in estimated size of a rebel group.


Leiby, Michelle

Second Advisor

Lantis, Jeffrey


Political Science


International Relations

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2016 Sarah J. Litt