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Ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars

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  • Montalvo, Jose G.
  • Reynal-Querol, Marta
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    Abstract

    The authors analyze the relationship between ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars. Several recent papers have argued that the uncertainty about the relative power of the contenders in a war will tend to increase its duration. In these models, uncertainty is directly related to the relative size of the contenders. The authors argue that the duration of civil wars increases the more polarized a society is. Uncertainty is not necessarily linked to the structure of the population but it could be traced back to the measurement of the size of the different groups in the society. Given a specific level of measurement error or uncertainty, more polarization implies lengthier wars. The empirical results show that ethnically polarized countries have to endure longer civil wars than ethnically less polarized societies.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4192.

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    Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4192

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    Related research

    Keywords: Social Conflict and Violence; Population Policies; Peace&Peacekeeping; Post Conflict Reintegration; Services&Transfers to Poor;

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    1. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Working Papers 46, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "Interpreting ethnic fragmentation effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 271-276, April.
    3. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
    4. Rafael LaPorta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, . "The Quality of Government," Working Paper 19452, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    5. Francesco Caselli, 2007. "On the theory of ethnic conflict," 2007 Meeting Papers, Society for Economic Dynamics 162, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    6. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers, Harvard - Institute for International Development 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    7. Bluedorn, John C., 2001. "Can democracy help? Growth and ethnic divisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 121-126, January.
    8. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    9. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
    10. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and Grievance in Civil War," Development and Comp Systems, EconWPA 0409007, EconWPA.
    11. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
    12. Jos� G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
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    Cited by:
    1. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    2. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War: A Review of Fifty Years of Research," Working Papers id:2231, eSocialSciences.
    3. Ahmed Mahmud & Juan Vargas, 2011. "Combatant recruitment and the outcome of war," Economics of Governance, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-74, March.

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