Interpreting the American Revolution as Civil War

Professor Paul Hallwood will have a paper published in Defence and Peace Economics entitled “Quantifying Greed and Grievance in Civil Wars: The American War of Independence”.  A strand in the political science literature asks ‘why do civil wars happen’? With blood diamonds in mind one possibility is greed; but in many other cases civil wars are provoked by grievances against the central power – Chechnya and Kosovo come to mind.  Hallwood collects data on the cost of British Empire membership and war costs to the American colonists and passes them through his economic model to find that the Americans were over-whelmingly motivated by grievance. In over 200-years of scholarship, while some historians argue as much, others emphasize the greed hypothesis, to be rid of the economic burdens of colonial status. As one historian observed a generation ago, the debate raged on because of a lack of a scientific model to settle the dispute.  Hallwood offers such a model.