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A Model of Ethnic Conflict

We present a model of conflict, in which discriminatory government policy or social intolerance is responsive to various forms of ethnic activism, including violence. It is this perceived responsiveness ? captured by the probability that the government gives in and accepts a proponed change in ethnic policy?that induces individuals to mobilize in support for their cause. Yet, mobilization is costly and demonstrators have to be compensated accordingly. Individuals have to weigh their ethnic radicalism with their material well-being to determine the size of their money contribution to the cause. Our main results are: (i) a one-sided increase in radicalism or in population size increases conflict; (ii) a one-sided increase in income has ambiguous effects depending on the elasticity of contributions to income; (iii) an increase in within-group inequality increases conflict; and (iv) an increase in the correlation between ethnic radicalism and inequality also increases conflict.

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Paper provided by Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC) in its series UFAE and IAE Working Papers with number 701.07.

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Length: 19
Date of creation: 22 May 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:aub:autbar:701.07
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  1. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
  2. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict," NBER Working Papers 12125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  4. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1999. "Conflict and Distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 379-415, August.
  5. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  6. Bates, R.H., 2000. "Ethicity, Capital Formation, and Conflict," Papers 27, Chicago - Graduate School of Business.
  7. Edward Miguel & Shanker Satyanath & Ernest Sergenti, 2004. "Economic Shocks and Civil Conflict: An Instrumental Variables Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 725-753, August.
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