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Discrete Polarisation with an Application to the Determinants of Genocides


  • JoseG. Montalvo
  • Marta Reynal-Querol


Inequality and polarisation are two different measures of heterogeneity. As in the case of inequality, the measurement of polarisation was initially developed in the context of a continuous dimension (income). However, in many important dimensions, like ethnicity, there are no available measures of distance across ethnic groups and individuals are mostly separated by the dichotomous perception 'we versus they'. In this article we analyse the theoretical properties of a measure of polarisation based on classifications (discrete polarisation) instead of continuous distances across groups. The second part of the article presents an application of the index of discrete ethnic polarisation to the explanation of genocides. Copyright © The Author(s). Journal compilation © Royal Economic Society 2008.

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  • JoseG. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2008. "Discrete Polarisation with an Application to the Determinants of Genocides," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(533), pages 1835-1865, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:118:y:2008:i:533:p:1835-1865

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    2. Ager, Philipp & Brückner, Markus, 2013. "Cultural diversity and economic growth: Evidence from the US during the age of mass migration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 76-97.
    3. Joan Esteban & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2015. "Strategic Mass Killings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 123(5), pages 1087-1132.
    4. Matija Kovacic & Claudio Zoli, 2013. "Ethnic Distribution, Effective Power and Conflict," Working Papers 294, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    5. Isaac Kalonda Kanyama, 2017. "Patterns and trends in horizontal inequality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo," WIDER Working Paper Series 151, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    6. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2013. "Linguistic diversity, standardization and disenfranchisement. Measurement and consequences," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/152436, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Roy, Sunanda & Wu, Kuan Chuen & Chandra, Abhijit, 2015. "Uncovering the "Will of the People": Measuring Preference Polarization among Voters," Staff General Research Papers Archive 38358, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    8. Patricia Justino, 2012. "Shared Societies and Armed Conflict: Costs, Inequality and the Benefits of Peace," HiCN Working Papers 125, Households in Conflict Network.
    9. José María, Larrú, 2012. "La relación entre la ayuda al desarrollo y la desigualdad. Evidencia y justificación teórica
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    10. Chakraborty, Tanika & Nottmeyer, Olga & Schüller, Simone & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2014. "Beyond the Average: Peer Heterogeneity and Intergenerational Transmission of Education," IZA Discussion Papers 8695, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. Elissaios Papyrakis & Pak Hung Mo, 2014. "Fractionalization, Polarization, And Economic Growth: Identifying The Transmission Channels," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(3), pages 1204-1218, July.
    12. Remi Jedwab & Mark Koyama & Noel Johnson, "undated". "Negative Shocks and Mass Persecutions: Evidence from the Black Death," Working Papers 2017-4, The George Washington University, Institute for International Economic Policy.
    13. Bakshi, Dripto & Dasgupta, Indraneel, 2016. "Identity Conflict with Cross-Border Spillovers," IZA Discussion Papers 9731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    14. Elissaios Papyrakis, 2013. "Environmental Performance in Socially Fragmented Countries," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 55(1), pages 119-140, May.
    15. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Mukherjee, Diganta, 2014. "Assimilation, Criminality and Ethnic Conflict," IZA Discussion Papers 7924, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    16. Philipp Kolo, 2011. "Questioning Ethnic Fragmentation's Exogeneity - Drivers of Changing Ethnic Boundaries," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 210, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.
    17. Philipp Kolo, 2012. "Measuring a New Aspect of Ethnicity - The Appropriate Diversity Index," Ibero America Institute for Econ. Research (IAI) Discussion Papers 221, Ibero-America Institute for Economic Research.

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