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Ethnicity, Capital Formation, and Conflict

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  • Robert H. Bates

Abstract

Ethnicity plays an ambiguous role in the great transformation. On the one hand, ethnicity creates: by providing incentives that organize the flow of resources across generations, it provides the capital for urban migration and the acquisition of skills for industrial employment. On the other hand, ethnicity destroys: ethnic conflict leads to costly acts of violence. Using data drawn largely from Africa, this paper explores the two faces of ethnicity. In so doing, it finds that the presumed link between ethnicity and violence is more complex and less threatening than most assume. Those who claim a straightforward link are making an elementary error in the reading of tabular data.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert H. Bates, 2001. "Ethnicity, Capital Formation, and Conflict," CID Working Papers 27A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:27a
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Deutsch, Karl W., 1961. "Social Mobilization and Political Development," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(3), pages 493-514, September.
    2. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    3. Paul A. Samuelson, 1958. "An Exact Consumption-Loan Model of Interest with or without the Social Contrivance of Money," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 66, pages 467-467.
    4. Posner, Richard A, 1980. "A Theory of Primitive Society, with Special Reference to Law," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 1-53, April.
    5. Binswanger, Hans P & McIntire, John, 1987. "Behavioral and Material Determinants of Production Relations in Land-Abundant Tropical Agriculture," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 73-99, October.
    6. Gian S. Sahota, 1968. "An Economic Analysis of Internal Migration in Brazil," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 76, pages 218-218.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2006. "Ethnicity, Governance and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 62-99, April.
    2. repec:kap:iaecre:v:12:y:2006:i:2:p:241-250 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Rohner, Dominic, 2011. "Reputation, group structure and social tensions," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 188-199, November.
    4. Docquier, Frederic & Rapoport, Hillel, 2003. "Ethnic discrimination and the migration of skilled labor," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 159-172, February.
    5. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
    6. Tilman Brück & Kati Schindler, 2008. "The Impact of Conflict and Fragility on Households: A Conceptual Framework with Reference to Widows," WIDER Working Paper Series RP2008-83, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    7. Bodea, Cristina & Elbadawi, Ibrahim A., 2008. "Political violence and economic growth," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4692, The World Bank.
    8. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2011. "A Model Of Ethnic Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 496-521, June.
    9. Laia Balcells, 2008. "Rivalry and Revenge: Making Sense of Violence against Civilians in Conventional Civil Wars," HiCN Working Papers 51, Households in Conflict Network.
    10. Haagsma, Rein & Mouche, Pierre v., 2013. "Egalitarian norms, economic development, and ethnic polarization," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(3), pages 719-744.
    11. David Dreyer Lassen & Helene Bie Lilleør, 2008. "Informal Institutions and Intergenerational Contracts: Evidence from Schooling and Remittances in Rural Tanzania," CAM Working Papers 2008-03, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
    12. repec:kap:iaecre:v:11:y:2005:i:1:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Abdiweli Ali & Hodan Isse, 2005. "An Empirical Analysis of the Effect of Aid on Growth," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 11(1), pages 1-11, February.
    14. Thomas Cantens, 2010. "Is it Possible to Reform a Customs Administration?: The Role of the Customs Elite on the Reform Process in Cameroon," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2010-118, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    15. Krishna, Anirudh, 2004. "Understanding, measuring and utilizing social capital: clarifying concepts and presenting a field application from India," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 82(3), pages 291-305, December.
    16. Nicholas Sambanis, 2002. "A Review of Recent Advances and Future Directions in the Quantitative Literature on Civil War," Defence and Peace Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 13(3), pages 215-243.
    17. repec:ilo:ilowps:378652 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Krishna, Anirudh, 2003. "Understanding, measuring and utilizing social capital: clarifying concepts and presenting a field application from India," CAPRi working papers 28, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; ethnicity; modernization; social capital; violence; investment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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