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Decentralization and Ethnic Conflict: The Role of Empowerment

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  • Tranchant, Jean-Pierre
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    Abstract

    Decentralization is increasing in all parts of the world. Assessing the efficiency of decentralization as a means to mitigate ethnic conflict is then of primarily importance. This paper builds a simple model of decentralization as an empowerment mechanism. It suggests that decentralization could promote peace conditional on a set of countries and groups characteristics. Typically, decentralization should empower minorities which are small at the national level, while representing a critical mass of the population in the regions they live in. Empirical results confirm that decentralization impacts ethnic conflict only when those conditioning factors are controlled for. Furthermore, decentralization dampens all forms of ethnic violence for groups spatially concentrated enough and/or for groups having a local majority. In contrast, it fuels protest and even rebellion for groups lacking one. The paper then highlights the crucial need to build checks and balances mechanisms at the regional level for local minorities not being harmed by the decentralization process.

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    File URL: http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/3713/
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 3713.

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    Date of creation: May 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:3713

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    Keywords: Minorities; Ethnic Conflict; Decentralization; Panel Data Analysis;

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    1. Bulow, Jeremy I & Geanakoplos, John D & Klemperer, Paul D, 1985. "Multimarket Oligopoly: Strategic Substitutes and Complements," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(3), pages 488-511, June.
    2. Alesina, Alberto, et al, 2003. " Fractionalization," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 155-94, June.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods And Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284, November.
    4. J-P. Platteau & A. Abraham, 2002. "Participatory Development in the Presence of Endogenous Community Imperfections," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 104-136.
    5. Seabright, Paul, 1994. "Accountability and Decentralization in Government: An Incomplete Contracts Model," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 889, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Dilip Mookherjee & Pranab K. Bardhan, 2000. "Capture and Governance at Local and National Levels," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 135-139, May.
    7. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation In Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904, August.
    8. Pranab Bardhan, 2002. "Decentralization of Governance and Development," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 16(4), pages 185-205, Fall.
    9. Brancati, Dawn, 2006. "Decentralization: Fueling the Fire or Dampening the Flames of Ethnic Conflict and Secessionism?," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 651-685, July.
    10. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
    11. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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