IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ecm/nawm04/137.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Discrete polarization and the measurement of potential ethnic conflict

Author

Listed:
  • Marta Reynal-Querol
  • Jose G. Montalvo

Abstract

Esteban and Ray (Econometrica 1994) describe a measure of polarization that is closely connected to potential conflict or tension in a society, emphasizing the difference between polarization and inequality. In principle a very highly polarized society may have a low level of inequality measured, for instance, using the Gini index. The original application referred to income/wealth polarization and, therefore, the measure was constructed using a Euclidean distance in R. Recent papers on the economic effect of ethnic heterogeneity have used systematically the index of fractionalization as the measure for potential conflict and polarization. However it can be shown that the fractionalization index (one minus Herfindahl’s index) is simply a Gini index constructed using a discrete metric (belong/does not belong to a particular ethnic group). In this paper we propose a new measure for potential ethnic conflict based on a discrete distance version of Estaban and Ray’s index of polarization. The change in the metric results in some interesting properties. We show that the only discrete polarization measure that fulfills the basic properties of polarization is the so called RQ index, which implies a degree of polarization sensitivity equal to 1. We also show how to derive the RQ index from a simple rent-seeking model. The paper includes a discussion of the empirical performance of this index of discrete polarization in the explanation of civil wars and economic development.

Suggested Citation

  • Marta Reynal-Querol & Jose G. Montalvo, 2004. "Discrete polarization and the measurement of potential ethnic conflict," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 137, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:nawm04:137
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    polarization; ethnic conflict; discrete metric;

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ecm:nawm04:137. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/essssea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.