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Religious diversity, intolerance and civil conflict

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  • Gomes, Joseph Flavian

Abstract

We compute new measures of religious diversity and intolerance and study their effects on civil conflict. Using a religion tree that describes the relationship between different religions, we compute measures of religious diversity at three different levels of aggregation. We find that religious diversity is a significant and robust correlate of civil conflict. While religious fractionalization significantly reduces conflict, religious polarization increases it. This is most robust at the second level of aggregation which implies that the cleavage between Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and Christians etc. is more relevant than that between either subgroups of religions like Protestants and Catholics, Shias and Sunnis, etc. or that between higher levels of aggregation like Abrahamic and Indian religions. We find religious intolerance to be a significant and robust predictor of conflict. Ethnic polarization ceases to be a robust predictor of civil conflict once we control for religious diversity and intolerance. We find no evidence that some religions are more violent than others.

Suggested Citation

  • Gomes, Joseph Flavian, 2013. "Religious diversity, intolerance and civil conflict," UC3M Working papers. Economics we1311, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
  • Handle: RePEc:cte:werepe:we1311
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    1. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-573, October.
    2. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2012. "The political economy of linguistic cleavages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 322-338.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:97:y:2003:i:01:p:75-90_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    5. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    6. Anirban Mitra & Debraj Ray, 2014. "Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 719-765.
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.

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