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Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity

Author

Listed:
  • Desmet, Klaus
  • Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio
  • Wacziarg, Romain

Abstract

We investigate the empirical relationship between ethnicity and culture, defined as a vector of traits reflecting norms, attitudes and preferences. Using surveys of individual values in 76 countries, we find that ethnic identity is a significant predictor of cultural values, yet that within-group variation in culture trumps between-group variation. Thus, in contrast to a commonly held view, ethnic and cultural diversity are unrelated. We explore the correlates of cultural diversity and of the overlap between culture and ethnicity, finding that the level of economic development is positively associated with cultural diversity and negatively associated with the overlap between culture and ethnicity. Finally, although only a small portion of a country's overall cultural heterogeneity occurs between groups, this does not imply that cultural differences between groups are irrelevant. Indeed, we find that civil conflict becomes more likely when there is greater overlap between ethnicity and culture.

Suggested Citation

  • Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2015. "Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity," CEPR Discussion Papers 10451, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10451
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    between-group diversity; civil conflict; cultural fractionalization; cultural traits; culture; ethnicity; heterogeneity; identity; social norms; within-group diversity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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