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Minority Status and Investment: Evidence from Natural and Lab Experiments in Bosnia and Herzegovina1

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  • Vera Mironova

    ()
    (University of Maryland)

  • Egor Lazarev

    ()
    (Columbia University)

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    Abstract

    This study explores how minority status influences individual decisions about investment in a post-conflict society. The study is based on multiple sources of evidence from Bosnia and Herzegovina. First, we exploit an exogenous imposition of minority and majority positions by an asif random adjustment of an administrative boundary and analyze household and business surveys. Second, we run a “lab-in-the field” experiment. The analysis shows that both actual and experimentally induced minority statuses are associated with lower levels of investment. Evidence suggests the perception of discrimination by the government, and not actual discrimination, as the plausible cause of such behavior. Several implications follow: emergence and persistence of segregated ethnic businesses, underinvestment and a basis for horizontal inter-group inequality that could increase the probability of a conflict.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Households in Conflict Network in its series HiCN Working Papers with number 162.

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    Length: 50 pages
    Date of creation: Dec 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:hic:wpaper:162

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    1. Charness, Gary & Cobo-Reyes, Ramón & Jiménez, Natalia, 2008. "An investment game with third-party intervention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 18-28, October.
    2. Alesina, Alberto F & Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina, 2008. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross-Section of Countries," CEPR Discussion Papers 6943, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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    7. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
    8. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2011. "Linking Conflict to Inequality and Polarization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1345-74, June.
    9. Maarten J. Voors & Eleonora E. M. Nillesen & Philip Verwimp & Erwin H. Bulte & Robert Lensink & Daan P. Van Soest, 2012. "Violent Conflict and Behavior: A Field Experiment in Burundi," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 941-64, April.
    10. Berg Joyce & Dickhaut John & McCabe Kevin, 1995. "Trust, Reciprocity, and Social History," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 122-142, July.
    11. Habyarimana, James P. & Humphreys, Macartan & Posner, Daniel N. & Weinstein, Jeremy, 2006. "Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision? An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2272, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
    13. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2000. "Economics And Identity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 715-753, August.
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