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Group Violence, Ethnic Diversity and Citizen Participation - Evidence from Indonesia

We study the impact of violent conflict on social capital, as measured by citizen participation in community groups, defined by four activity types: governance, social service, infrastructure development and risk-sharing. Combining household panel data from Indonesia with conflict event information, we find an overall decrease in citizen contributions in districts affected by group violence in the early post-Suharto transition period. However, participation in communities with a high degree of ethnic polarization is less affected, and is even stimulated for local governance and risk-sharing activities. Moreover, individual engagement appears to depend on the involvement of other members from the same ethnic group, which points toward building of intra-ethnic social networks in the presence of violence. Finally, our results show the danger of generalization when dealing with citizen participation in community activities. We find a large variety of responses depending on the activity and its economic and social functions. We also find large observed and unobserved individual heterogeneities of the effect of violence on participation. Once an appropriate nomenclature of activities is used and controls for heterogeneity are applied, we find that the ethnic and social configuration of society is central in understanding citizen participation.

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Paper provided by Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France in its series AMSE Working Papers with number 1306.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2013
Date of revision: Feb 2013
Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1306
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