IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Ethnic Diversity and Ethnic Strife. An Interdisciplinary Perspective


  • Kanbur, Ravi
  • Rajaram, Prem Kumar
  • Varshney, Ashutosh


Summary The objective of this paper is to present an overview of ethnicity, ethnic strife, and its consequences, as seen from the perspective of the disciplines of economics, political science, social anthropology, and sociology. What exactly is ethnicity--how is it to be defined, characterized, and measured? What exactly are the causal links from ethnicity so defined to its presumed consequences, including tension and violence? What are the feedback loops from the consequences of ethnic divisions back to these divisions themselves? How can policy, if at all, mitigate ethnic divisions and ethnic conflict? Finally, what role does interdisciplinarity have in helping to understand ethnicity and ethnic strife, and how can interdisciplinary collaboration be enhanced? These are the questions which this paper takes up and deals with in sequence.

Suggested Citation

  • Kanbur, Ravi & Rajaram, Prem Kumar & Varshney, Ashutosh, 2011. "Ethnic Diversity and Ethnic Strife. An Interdisciplinary Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 147-158, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:147-158

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    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. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2003. "Bridging Communal Divides: Separation, Patronage, Integration," Working Papers 127235, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
    3. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    5. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    6. Tavares, Jose & Wacziarg, Romain, 2001. "How democracy affects growth," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(8), pages 1341-1378, August.
    7. Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Kin Groups and Reciprocity: A Model of Credit Transactions in Ghana," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(5), pages 1730-1751, December.
    8. Gabrielle Demange & Wooders Myrna, 2005. "Group Formation in Economics: Networks, Clubs and Coalitions," Post-Print halshs-00576778, HAL.
    9. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    10. Easterly, William, 2001. "Can Institutions Resolve Ethnic Conflict?," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(4), pages 687-706, July.
    11. Dasgupta, Indraneel & Kanbur, Ravi, 2007. "Community and class antagonism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(9), pages 1816-1842, September.
    12. Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062364, January.
    13. Jean-Louis Arcand & Patrick Guillaumont & Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney, 2000. "How to make a tragedy: on the alleged effect of ethnicity on growth," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(7), pages 925-938.
    14. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & Caroline Hoxby, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 348-396, April.
    15. Fafchamps, Marcel, 2000. "Ethnicity and credit in African manufacturing," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 205-235, February.
    16. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    17. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
    18. Paul Collier, 2000. "Ethnicity, Politics and Economic Performance," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 225-245, November.
    19. repec:cup:apsrev:v:98:y:2004:i:04:p:529-545_04 is not listed on IDEAS
    20. Robert H. Bates, 2000. "Ethnicity and Development in Africa: A Reappraisal," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 131-134, May.
    21. repec:cup:apsrev:v:90:y:1996:i:04:p:715-735_20 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Biggs, Tyler & Raturi, Mayank & Srivastava, Pradeep, 2002. "Ethnic networks and access to credit: evidence from the manufacturing sector in Kenya," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 473-486, December.
    23. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Gerring, John & Thacker, Strom C. & Lu, Yuan & Huang, Wei, 2015. "Does Diversity Impair Human Development? A Multi-Level Test of the Diversity Debit Hypothesis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 166-188.
    2. Christophe Muller & Marc Vothknecht, 2011. "Group Violence, Ethnic Diversity, and Citizen Participation: Evidence from Indonesia," Research Working Papers 48, MICROCON - A Micro Level Analysis of Violent Conflict.
    3. Casey, Gregory P. & Owen, Ann L., 2014. "Inequality and Fractionalization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 32-50.
    4. Kumar Das, Pranab & Kar, Saibal & Kayal, Madhumanti, 2011. "Religious Minorities and Provision of Public Goods: Evidence from Rural West Bengal," IZA Discussion Papers 6154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Mccourt, Willy, 2012. "Can Top-Down and Bottom-Up be Reconciled? Electoral Competition and Service Delivery in Malaysia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(11), pages 2329-2341.
    6. Gisselquist, Rachel M. & Leiderer, Stefan & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2016. "Ethnic Heterogeneity and Public Goods Provision in Zambia: Evidence of a Subnational “Diversity Dividend”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 308-323.
    7. Irene van Staveren & Zahid Pervaiz, 2017. "Is it Ethnic Fractionalization or Social Exclusion, Which Affects Social Cohesion?," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 130(2), pages 711-731, January.
    8. Bove, Vincenzo & Elia, Leandro, 2017. "Migration, Diversity, and Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 227-239.
    9. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Jaimovich, Dany, 2014. "Does ethnic diversity decrease economic interactions? Evidence from exchange networks in rural Gambia," MPRA Paper 60497, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Gören, Erkan, 2014. "How Ethnic Diversity Affects Economic Growth," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 275-297.
    11. Mwesigye, Francis & Matsumoto, Tomoya, 2016. "The Effect of Population Pressure and Internal Migration on Land Conflicts: Implications for Agricultural Productivity in Uganda," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 79(C), pages 25-39.
    12. Kanbur, Ravi, 2013. "Exposure and Dialogue Programs in the Training of Development Analysts and Practitioners," Working Papers 180097, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:39:y:2011:i:2:p:147-158. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.