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The roots of ethnic diversity

Listed author(s):
  • Pelle Ahlerup

    ()

  • Ola Olsson

    ()

The level of ethnic diversity is believed to have significant consequences for economic and political development within countries. In this article, we provide a theoretical and empirical analysis of the determinants of ethnic diversity in the world. We introduce a model of cultural and ge- netic drift where new ethnic groups endogenously emerge among periph- eral populations as a response to an insufficient supply of public goods. In line with our model, we find that the duration of human settlements has a strong positive association with ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity decreases with the length of modern state experience and with distance from the equator. Both "primordial" and "constructivist" hypotheses of ethnic fractionalization thus receive some support by our analysis.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s10887-011-9075-0
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Economic Growth.

Volume (Year): 17 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 71-102

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Handle: RePEc:kap:jecgro:v:17:y:2012:i:2:p:71-102
DOI: 10.1007/s10887-011-9075-0
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.springer.com

Order Information: Web: http://www.springer.com/economics/growth/journal/10887/PS2

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  1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
  2. Ahlerup, Pelle, 2009. "The Causal Effects of Ethnic Diversity: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Working Papers in Economics 386, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  3. Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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  12. Wacziarg, Romain & Spolaore, Enrico, 2006. "The Diffusion of Development," Research Papers 1898r1, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
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  14. Olsson, Ola & Hibbs, Douglas Jr., 2005. "Biogeography and long-run economic development," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(4), pages 909-938, May.
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  26. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
  27. Olsson, Ola, 2009. "On the democratic legacy of colonialism," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 534-551, December.
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