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Cultures, Clashes and Peace

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  • Fletcher, Erin K.

    () (Harvard University)

  • Iyigun, Murat

    () (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Abstract

Ethnic and religious fractionalization have important effects on economic growth and development, but their role in internal violent conflicts has been found to be negligible and statistically insignificant. These findings have been invoked in refutation of the Huntington hypothesis, according to which differences of ethnic, religious and cultural identities are the ultimate determinants of conflict. However, fractionalization in all its demographic forms is endogenous in the long run. In this paper, we empirically investigate the impact of violent conflicts on ethno-religious fractionalization. The data involve 953 conflicts that took place in 52 countries in Europe, Africa and the Middle East between 1400 CE and 1900 CE. Besides a variety of violent confrontations ranging from riots, revolts and power wars between secular sovereigns, the data cover religiously motivated confrontations. We document that countries in which Muslim on Christian wars unfolded more frequently are significantly more religiously homogenous today. In contrast, those places where Protestant versus Catholic confrontations occurred or Jewish pogroms took place are more fractionalized, both ethnically and religiously. And the longer were the duration of all such conflicts and violence, the less fractionalized countries are today. These results reveal that the demographic structure of countries in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa still bear the traces of a multitude of ecclesiastical and cultural clashes that occurred throughout the course of history. They also suggest that endogeneity could render the relationship between fractionalization and the propensity of internal conflict statistically insignificant. Finally, instrumenting for conflicts with some geographic attributes and accounting for the endogeneity of fractionalization with respect to ecclesiastical conflicts shows that religous fractionalization likely has negative effects on economic growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Fletcher, Erin K. & Iyigun, Murat, 2009. "Cultures, Clashes and Peace," IZA Discussion Papers 4116, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4116
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Olsson, Ola & Valsecchi, Michele, 2010. "Quantifying Ethnic Cleansing: An Application to Darfur," Working Papers in Economics 479, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Soldatos, Gerasimos T., 2015. "Peacemaking and Peacebuilding through Opponent Non-Economic and Economic Homogenization," MPRA Paper 67482, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Jha, Saumitra & Wilkinson, Steven, 2012. "Veterans, Organizational Skill and Ethnic Cleansing: Evidence from the Partition of South Asia," Research Papers 2092, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    4. Pelle Ahlerup & Ola Olsson, 2012. "The roots of ethnic diversity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 71-102, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    conflict; religion; institutions; economic development;

    JEL classification:

    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • N33 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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