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A Generalized Index of Fractionalization

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  • WALTER BOSSERT
  • CONCHITA D'AMBROSIO
  • ELIANA LA FERRARA

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to contribute to the economic literature on ethnic and cultural diversity by proposing a new index that is informationally richer and more flexible than the commonly used ‘ethno-linguistic fractionalization’ (ELF) index. We characterize a measure of diversity among individuals that takes as a primitive the individuals, as opposed to ethnic groups, and uses information on the extent of similarity among them. Compared to existing indices, our measure does not require that individuals are pre-assigned to exogenously determined categories or groups. We show that our generalized index is a natural extension of ELF and is also simple to compute. We also provide an empirical illustration of how our index can be operationalized and what difference it makes as compared to the standard ELF index. This application pertains to the pattern of fractionalization in the United States.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 78 (2011)
Issue (Month): 312 (October)
Pages: 723-750

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:78:y:2011:i:312:p:723-750

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Mele, Angelo, 2013. "Poisson indices of segregation," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 65-85.
  2. Spolaore, Enrico & Wacziarg, Romain, 2013. "Long-Term Barriers to Economic Development," CEPR Discussion Papers 9638, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Miron Tequame, 2010. "HIV, Risky Behavior and Ethno-Linguistic Heterogeneity," Working Papers 1004, University of Namur, Department of Economics.
  4. Philipp Kolo, 2012. "Measuring a New Aspect of Ethnicity - The Appropriate Diversity Index," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 221, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
  5. Stichnoth, Holger & van der Straeten, Karine, 2009. "Ethnic diversity and attitudes towards redistribution: a review of the literature," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2012. "The political economy of linguistic cleavages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 322-338.
  7. Satya Chakravarty & Bhargav Maharaj, 2012. "Ethnic polarization orderings and indices," Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 99-123, May.
  8. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2009. "The Political Economy of Ethnolinguistic Cleavages," CEPR Discussion Papers 7478, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Nicholas Rohde & Ross Guest, 2013. "Multidimensional Racial Inequality in the United States," Social Indicators Research, Springer, vol. 114(2), pages 591-605, November.

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