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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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Paper provided by Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 01-2008.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mtl:montec:01-2008
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  1. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  2. Jos� G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2004. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," NBER Working Papers 10313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Alberto Bisin & Thierry Verdier, 2000. ""Beyond The Melting Pot": Cultural Transmission, Marriage, And The Evolution Of Ethnic And Religious Traits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 955-988, August.
  8. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  9. Luigi Guiso & Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2009. "Cultural Biases in Economic Exchange?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1095-1131, August.
  10. Klaus Nehring & Clemens Puppe, 2002. "A Theory of Diversity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(3), pages 1155-1198, May.
  11. Prasanta K. Pattanaik & Yongsheng Xu,, . "On Diversity and Freedom of Choice," Discussion Papers 97/18, University of Nottingham, School of Economics.
  12. Giuliano, Paola, 2006. "Living Arrangements in Western Europe: Does Cultural Origin Matter?," IZA Discussion Papers 2042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Hoxby, Caroline & Baqir, Reza & Alesina, Alberto, 2004. "Political Jurisdictions in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4552532, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  14. Giuliano, Paola & Spilimbergo, Antonio & Tonon, Giovanni, 2006. "Genetic, Cultural and Geographical Distances," IZA Discussion Papers 2229, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 1999. "Public goods and ethnic divisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2108, The World Bank.
  16. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  17. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," Scholarly Articles 4551796, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  18. BOSSERT, Walter & PATTANAIK, Prasanta K. & XU, Yongsheng, 2001. "The Measurement of Diversity," Cahiers de recherche 2001-17, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  19. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299, November.
  20. repec:hrv:faseco:4553034 is not listed on IDEAS
  21. Fearon, James D, 2003. " Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
  22. Martin L. Weitzman, 1998. "The Noah's Ark Problem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 66(6), pages 1279-1298, November.
  23. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  24. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Weber, Shlomo, 2005. "Peripheral Diversity and Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 5112, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation In Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904, August.
  26. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "Interpreting ethnic fragmentation effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 271-276, April.
  27. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
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