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Disarming Fears of Diversity: Ethnic Heterogeneity and State Militarization, 1988–2002

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  • Indra de Soysa

    (Norwegian University of Science & Technology NTNU)

  • Eric Neumayer

    (London School of Economics & Political Science LSE)

Abstract

This study addresses state militarization under conditions of ethnic and other diversity. Recent scholarship in economics finds that high diversity leads to lower provision of public goods. At the same time, conflict studies find that highly diverse societies face a lower risk of civil war despite the ‘primordialist’ claims about ancient hatreds, fear, and insecurity in such societies. Investigating possible links between these two separate lines of research, we explore whether diversity prompts governments to militarize heavily in order to prevent armed conflict, which would then crowd out spending on other public goods. Using military expenditures, personnel and arms imports as indicators of militarization, we find that higher levels of ethnic (and possibly linguistic) diversity predict lower levels of militarization, whereas religious diversity does not matter. If high diversity lowers the hazard of civil war, then it does not happen via a ‘garrison state’ effect. If diverse societies spend less on public goods, then this is not because they are crowded out by costly militarization.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Public Economics with number 0503008.

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Date of creation: 23 Mar 2005
Date of revision: 01 Sep 2005
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwppe:0503008

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