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The Political Boundaries of Ethnic Divisions

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  • Bazzi, Samuel
  • Gudgeon, Matthew

Abstract

This paper argues that redrawing subnational political boundaries can transform ethnic divisions. We use a natural policy experiment in Indonesia to show how the effects of ethnic diversity on conflict depend on the political units within which groups are organized. Redistricting along group lines can reduce conflict, but these gains are undone or even reversed when the new borders introduce greater polarization. These adverse effects of polarization are further amplified around majoritarian elections, consistent with strong incentives to capture new local governments in settings with ethnic favoritism. Overall, our findings illustrate the promise and pitfalls of redistricting in diverse countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Bazzi, Samuel & Gudgeon, Matthew, 2018. "The Political Boundaries of Ethnic Divisions," CEPR Discussion Papers 12552, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:12552
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Alberto Alesina & Caterina Gennaioli & Stefania Lovo, 2019. "Public Goods and Ethnic Diversity: Evidence from Deforestation in Indonesia," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 86(341), pages 32-66, January.
    2. Paul Pelzl & Steven (S.) Poelhekke, 2018. "Good mine, bad mine: Natural resource heterogeneity and Dutch disease in Indonesia," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 18-073/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Joan Esteban & Sabine Flamand & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2017. "The Survival and Demise of the State: A Dynamic Theory of Secession," Working Papers 609, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    4. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Blesse, Sebastian, 2019. "Subnational border reforms and economic development in Africa," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-027, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    5. Joan Esteban & Sabine Flamand & Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2018. "A Dynamic Theory of Secession," CESifo Working Paper Series 7257, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    conflict; Decentralization; Ethnic Divisions; Polarization; Political Boundaries;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts

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