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Domestic Ethnic Conflict and Ethnic Nepotism: A Comparative Analysis

Author

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  • Tatu Vanhanen

    (Department of Political Science, University of Helsinki)

Abstract

Ethnic conflict seems to be common in all countries of the world where people are divided into separate ethnic groups, that may have a racial, national, linguistic, tribal, religious or caste basis. In this article it is proposed that a significant part of the universality of ethnic conflict can be explained by our evolved predisposition to ethnic nepotism, which can be regarded as an extended form of nepotism. Evolutionary theories of inclusive fitness and kin selection explain the origin and universality of nepotism. The members of an ethnic group tend to favour their group members over non-members because they are more related to their group members than to outsiders. This disposition to favour kin over non-kin becomes important in social life and politics when people and groups of people have to compete for scarce resources. Two hypotheses on political consequences of ethnic nepotism are presented: (1) significant ethnic division tends to lead to ethnic interest conflict in all societies and (2) the more a society is ethnically divided, the more political and other interest conflict tend to become channelled into ethnic lines. These two hypotheses are tested by empirical evidence for 183 contemporary states. The hypothetical concepts `ethnic division' and `ethnic conflict' are operationalized into empirical variables. The results support the two hypotheses. Deviating cases underline the importance of other relevant factors behind ethnic conflict and violence.

Suggested Citation

  • Tatu Vanhanen, 1999. "Domestic Ethnic Conflict and Ethnic Nepotism: A Comparative Analysis," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 36(1), pages 55-73, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:joupea:v:36:y:1999:i:1:p:55-73
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    Cited by:

    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. Nauro F. Campos & Vitaliy S. Kuzeyev, 2007. "On the Dynamics of Ethnic Fractionalization," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(3), pages 620-639, July.
    3. Kenneth Harttgen & Matthias Opfinger, 2014. "National Identity and Religious Diversity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 346-367, August.
    4. Richard Perkins & Eric Neumayer, 2004. "The international diffusion of new technologies: a multi-technology analysis of latecomer advantage and global economic integration," Development and Comp Systems 0407001, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 08 Dec 2004.
    5. Shiva, Mehdi & Kwiatkowski, Andrzej, 2014. "Temper and Temperature: The Missing Link of Climate on Armed Conflicts," SIRE Discussion Papers 2015-30, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    6. Max Haller & Anja Eder & Erwin Stolz, 2016. "Ethnic Stratification and Patterns of Income Inequality Around the World: A Cross-National Comparison of 123 Countries, Based on a New Index of Historic Ethnic Exploitation," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 128(3), pages 1047-1084, September.
    7. Giménez Gómez, José M. (José Manuel), 2016. "Linking social heterogeneity and commodity price shocks to civil conflicts," Working Papers 2072/290744, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Department of Economics.
    8. Mehdi Shiva & Andrzej Kwiatkowski, 2014. "Temper and Temperature: The Missing Link of Climate on Armed Conflicts," Dundee Discussion Papers in Economics 282, Economic Studies, University of Dundee.
    9. Omer Gokcekus & Eva Muchova & Zuzana Brincikova, 2015. "Level and quality of openness and corruption in the ECA countries," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(16), pages 1340-1344, November.
    10. Lorenz Blume & Stefan Voigt, 2007. "The Economic Effects of Human Rights," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(4), pages 509-538, November.
    11. Rohner, Dominic, 2011. "Reputation, group structure and social tensions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 188-199, November.
    12. Shiva, Mehdi & Kwiatkowski, Andrzej, 2014. "Temper and Temperature: The Missing Link of Climate on Armed Conflicts," 2007 Annual Meeting, July 29-August 1, 2007, Portland, Oregon TN 2015-30, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    13. Omer Gokcekus & Yui Suzuki, 2016. "Mixing Washington Consensus With Beijing Consensus And Corruption In Africa," The Singapore Economic Review (SER), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 61(02), pages 1-14, June.
    14. Huber, Christoph & Basedau, Matthias, 2018. "When Do Religious Minorities' Grievances Lead to Peaceful or Violent Protest? Evidence from Canada’s Jewish and Muslim Communities," GIGA Working Papers 313, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies.
    15. Kyle L. Marquardt & Yoshiko M. Herrera, 2015. "Ethnicity as a Variable: An Assessment of Measures and Data Sets of Ethnicity and Related Identities," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(3), pages 689-716, September.
    16. GOMADO, Kwamivi Mawuli, 2018. "Diversité ethnique et déforestation dans les pays en développement: identification des principaux canaux
      [Ethnic diversity and deforestation in developing countries: identifying the transmission ch
      ," MPRA Paper 89380, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:40:y:2018:i:5:p:959-997 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Rohner, D., 2006. "Information, Reputation and Ethnic Conflict," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0658, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

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