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A Generalized Index of Fractionalization

  • BOSSERT, Walter
  • D’AMBROSIO, Conchita
  • LA FERRARA, Eliana

The goal of this paper is to contribute to the economic literature on ethnic and cultural diversity by proposing a new index that is informationally richer and more flexible than the commonly used ‘ethno-linguistic fractionalization’ (ELF) index. We characterize a measure of diversity among individuals that takes as a primitive the individuals, as opposed to ethnic groups, and uses information on the extent of similarity among them. Compared to existing indices, our measure does not require that individuals are pre-assigned to exogenously determined categories or groups. We show that our generalized index is a natural extension of ELF and is also simple to compute. We also provide an empirical illustration of how our index can be operationalized and what difference it makes as compared to the standard ELF index. This application pertains to the pattern of fractionalization in the United States.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/1866/2214
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Paper provided by Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 2008-01.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montde:2008-01
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Web page: http://www.sceco.umontreal.ca

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  17. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Fractionalization," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1959, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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  24. BOSSERT, Walter & PATTANAIK, Prasanta K. & XU, Yongsheng, 2001. "The Measurement of Diversity," Cahiers de recherche 2001-17, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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