Civil war is the most prevalent form of large-scale violence and is massively destructive to life, society, and the economy. The prevention of civil war is therefore a key priority for international attention. We present an empirical analysis of what makes countries prone to civil war. Using a global panel data set we examine different determinants of civil war for the period 1960–2004. We find little evidence that motivation can account for civil war risk but we suggest that there is evidence to support our feasibility hypothesis: that where a rebellion is financially and militarily feasible it will occur.