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On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict

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  • Francesco Caselli
  • Wilbur John Coleman II

Abstract

We present a theory of ethnic conflict in which coalitions formed along ethnic lines compete for the economy%u2019s resources. The role of ethnicity is to enforce coalition membership: in ethnically homogeneous societies members of the losing coalition can defect to the winners at low cost, and this rules out conflict as an equilibrium outcome. We derive a number of implications of the model relating social, political, and economic indicators such as the incidence of conflict, the distance among ethnic groups, group sizes, income inequality, and expropriable resources.

Suggested Citation

  • Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2006. "On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict," NBER Working Papers 12125, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12125
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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