Ethnic Minority Rule and Civil War Onset How Identity Salience, Fiscal Policy, and Natural Resource Profiles Moderate Outcomes
Using an agent-based computational framework designed to explore the incidence of conflict between two nominally rival ethnic groups, we demonstrate that the impact of ethnic minority rule on civil war onset could be more nuanced than posited in the literature. By testing the effects of three key moderating variables on ethnic minority rule, our analysis demonstrates that: (i) when ethnicity is assumed to be salient for all individuals, conflict onset increases with size of the minority in power, although when salience is permitted to vary, onset decreases as minority and majority approach parity; (ii) fiscal policyâ€”the spending and investment decisions of the minority EGIPâ€”moderates conflict; conflict decreases when leaders make sound decisions, increases under corrupt regimes, and peaks under ethno-nationalist regimes that place a premium on territorial conquest; and lastly (iii) natural resourcesâ€”their type and distributionâ€”affect the level of conflict which is lowest in agrarian economies, higher in the presence of lootable resources, and still higher when lootable resource are â€œdiffuseâ€. Our analysis generates a set of propositions to be tested empirically, subject to data availability.
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