The political economy of ethnicity
AbstractThe paper investigates the effects of ethnic diversity on economic performance and the risk of violent conflict. Diversity has various detrimental microeconomic effects, tending to reduce public sector performance, increase patronage, and lower the level of trust among individuals. However, whether diversity adversely affects overall economic growth depends upon the political environment. Diversity is highly damaging to growth in the context of limited political rights, but is not damaging in democracies. The same relationship holds for the satisfactory performance of World Bank projects: in diverse societies, the risk of project failure is nearly doubled by the absence of political rights. There is a relationship between ethnic diversity and the risk of violent conflict, but it is non-monotonic. Those societies most at risk are the ones in the middle of the range of ethnic diversity. Highly diverse societies, such as are typical of Africa, are actually even safer than homogenous societies. A democratic Africa can thus reap the benefits which ethnic diversity provides in terms of a reduced risk of violence, while avoiding the potential costs of reduced growth. Both income levels and political rights are also important influences on the risk of violent conflict, and of its escalation into full civil war. Once a society has reached full scale civil war the balance of influences appears to change. The persistence of conflict, and the sustainability of a settlement, are more dependent upon ethnic composition and less dependent upon income and political rights, than are the initiation and escalation of violence. Hence, some peace settlements may need to change borders so as to increase (or reduce) the ethnic diversity of the state.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 1998-08.
Date of creation: 1998
Date of revision:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Englebert, Pierre, 2000. "Solving the Mystery of the AFRICA Dummy," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 28(10), pages 1821-1835, October.
- Aron, Janine, 2002.
"Building Institutions in Post-Conflict African Economies,"
Working Paper Series, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER)
UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
- Janine Aron, 2003. "Building institutions in post-conflict African economies," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(4), pages 471-485.
- Seth Norton, 2000. "The Cost of Diversity: Endogenous Property Rights and Growth," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, Springer, vol. 11(4), pages 319-337, December.
- Ranis, Gustav, 2010. "Diversity of Communities and Economic Development: An Overview," Working Papers, JICA Research Institute 6, JICA Research Institute.
- Leonardo A. Gatica Arreola, 2012. "¿Por qué el distanciamiento ideológico disminuye la provisión de bienes públicos?; una explicación basada en el empleo clientelar," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 39(1 Year 20), pages 27-51, June.
- Daniel Kim & Christopher F Baum & Michael Ganz & S.V. Subramanian & Ichiro Kawachi, 2011.
"The contextual effects of social capital on health: a cross-national instrumental variable analysis,"
Boston College Working Papers in Economics, Boston College Department of Economics
786, Boston College Department of Economics.
- Kim, Daniel & Baum, Christopher F. & Ganz, Michael L. & Subramanian, S.V. & Kawachi, Ichiro, 2011. "The contextual effects of social capital on health: A cross-national instrumental variable analysis," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 73(12), pages 1689-1697.
- Mark Gradstein & Moshe Justman, 2002.
"Education, Social Cohesion, and Economic Growth,"
American Economic Review, American Economic Association,
American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1192-1204, September.
- Gradstein, Mark & Justman, Moshe, 2001. "Education, Social Cohesion and Economic Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 2773, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Kim, Kwang-ho, 2007. "Favoritism and reverse discrimination," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 101-123, January.
- Esfahani, Hadi Salehi & Ramirez, Maria Teresa, 2003. "Institutions, infrastructure, and economic growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 443-477, April.
- Bohn, Frank, 2007. "Polarisation, uncertainty and public investment failure," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 1077-1087, December.
- Dana Schüler & Julian Weisbrod, 2010. "Ethnic fractionalisation, migration and growth," Empirical Economics, Springer, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 457-486, October.
- Bodea, Cristina & Elbadawi, Ibrahim A., 2008. "Political violence and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series, The World Bank 4692, The World Bank.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Richard Payne).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.