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Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Study

Author

Listed:
  • Joan Esteban
  • Laura Mayoral
  • Debraj Ray

Abstract

We examine empirically the impact of ethnic divisions on conflict, by using a specification based on Esteban and Ray (2011). That theory links conflict intensity to three indices of ethnic distribution: polarization, fractionalization, and the Gini-Greenberg index. The empirical analysis verifies that these distributional measures are significant correlates of conflict. These effects persist as we introduce country-specific measures of group cohesion and of the importance of public goods, and combine them with the distributional measures exactly as described by the theory. (JEL D63, D74, J15, O15, O17)

Suggested Citation

  • Joan Esteban & Laura Mayoral & Debraj Ray, 2012. "Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1310-1342, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:4:p:1310-42
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
    2. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
    3. James D. Fearon, 2005. "Primary Commodity Exports and Civil War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 49(4), pages 483-507, August.
    4. Fearon, James D. & Laitin, David D., 2000. "Violence and the Social Construction of Ethnic Identity," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 54(4), pages 845-877, October.
    5. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2009. "Linguistic Diversity and Redistribution," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1291-1318, December.
    6. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2011. "Linking Conflict to Inequality and Polarization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1345-1374, June.
    7. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2009. "Beyond greed and grievance: feasibility and civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-27, January.
    8. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "The political economy of ethnolinguistic cleavages," Working Papers 2009-17, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
    9. Fearon, James D, 2003. "Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
    10. Muller, Edward N. & Seligson, Mitchell A. & Fu, Hung-der & Midlarsky, Manus I., 1989. "Land Inequality and Political Violence," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 83(2), pages 577-596, June.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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