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The conflict trap in the Greek Civil War 1946-1949: an economic approach

The London School of Economics and Political Science
Publication Date
  • Df Greece
  • Economics
  • Political Science


The paper provides a quantitative analysis of the armed confrontation that took place in Greece between the Communist Party and the Centre-Right Government during 1946-1949. Using monthly data for battle casualties a dynamic Lotka-Volterra framework is estimated, pointing to the existence of a conflict trap that explains the prolongation of the civil war and its dire consequences for the country. To examine the extent to which the confrontation was influenced by socio-economic factors, a regional analysis finds that political discontent was mainly correlated with pre-war grievances rather than class-structure, while the mobilization of guerilla forces was crucially affected by morphology and the local persecutions by the Government. The economic cost of the conflict is estimated to be close to an annual GDP, and its effect to last for at least a decade, in line with similar findings in contemporary civil wars. The failure to prevent the conflict or stop its escalation is discussed together with some conclusions for the long term repercussions and the current social discontent in Greece.

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