There are many ways of explaining what determines the human cost of civil wars, but little attention has focused on the relationship between religion and its dynamics and the human cost of civil wars. Religion is a powerful motivator and a large portion of the human population adheres to one of the world’s many religions. Consequently, it is important to understand how religion affects armed conflicts within states, one of the most common forms of large scale conflict in the world. Using a case study approach, this study examines civil wars in Algeria, the Philippines, Angola, and Peru, to test whether religious civil wars are costlier than non-religious civil wars in terms of human lives lost. Contrary to prior quantitative research, this study’s findings suggest that religious civil wars are not more costly than non-religious civil wars. However, there is some evidence that higher levels of religious outbidding correlate to higher cost levels. Future research should seek to examine more cases of religious civil wars qualitatively, to better understand the extent to which religion is a determinant of the human cost of civil wars.


N'Diaye, Boubacar


Global and International Studies

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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