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Ethnic Diversity and Local Conflicts

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  • Michael Bleaney
  • Arcangelo Dimico

Abstract

We hypothesise that, given the typically uneven distribution of ethnic groups within a country, ethnic diversity leads to greater local polarization and more frequent, but smaller, conflicts that involve only some ethnic groups. These conflicts can be overlooked if the number of fatalities is small. Our empirical work exploits data on the proportion of a country affected by a conflict, and we control for country size, poverty, geography and natural resource endowments. We show that, consistent with the hypothesis, at the margin ethnic diversity makes conflict more probable, but also makes it more likely to be localized. This finding is robust to persistence in the incidence and extent of conflict. This potentially explains the apparent lack of correlation between ethnic fractionalization and the incidence of conflict found in previous research that uses a higher threshold number of fatalities to define a conflict.

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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, School of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 09/04.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notecp:09/04

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Keywords: conflict; ethnicity; fractionalization; polarization.;

References

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  1. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2006. "Beyond Greed and Grievance: Feasibility and Civil War," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2006-10, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Fearon, James D, 2003. " Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
  3. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
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Cited by:
  1. B.P. Zaaruka & J.W. Fedderke, 2011. "Indicators of Political and Economic Institutions in Tanzania: 1884 - 2008," Working Papers 231, Economic Research Southern Africa.
  2. Michael Bleaney & Arcangelo Dimico, . "Incidence, Onset and Duration of Civil Wars: A Review of the Evidence," Discussion Papers 09/08, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.

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