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Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity

Author

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  • 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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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2016. "The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor," Departmental Working Papers 1610, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    2. Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio & Özak, Ömer, 2015. "Population Diversity, Division of Labor and the Emergence of Trade and State," MPRA Paper 69565, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio & Özak, Ömer, 2018. "The Origins of the Division of Labor in Pre-modern Times," MPRA Paper 84894, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Fenske, James & Kala, Namrata, 2017. "Linguistic Distance and Market Integration in India," CAGE Online Working Paper Series 331, Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy (CAGE).
    5. Gomes, Joseph, 2014. "The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-33, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    6. Reyes, Celia M. & Mina, Christian D. & Asis, Ronina D., 2017. "Inequality of Opportunities Among Ethnic Groups in the Philippines," Discussion Papers DP 2017-42, Philippine Institute for Development Studies.
    7. repec:aea:aejapp:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:370-402 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Valeria Rueda & Guillaume Laval & Etienne Patin, 2016. "Achieving the American Dream: Cultural Distance, Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _140, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    9. Valeria Rueda & Guillaume Laval & Etienne Patin, 2016. "Achieving the American Dream: Cultural Distance, Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance," Oxford University Economic and Social History Series _140, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
    10. Emilio Depetris-Chauvin & Ömer Özak, 2016. "Population Diversity, Division of Labor and Comparative Development," Departmental Working Papers 1605, Southern Methodist University, Department of Economics.
    11. Omar Shahabudin McDoom & Rachel M. Gisselquist, 2016. "The Measurement of Ethnic and Religious Divisions: Spatial, Temporal, and Categorical Dimensions with Evidence from Mindanao, the Philippines," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 863-891, November.
    12. Andrew Dickens, 2017. "Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics," Working Papers 1702, Brock University, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    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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