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Local Government Proliferation, Diversity, and Conflict

Author

Listed:
  • Samuel Bazzi

    (Boston University and The Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD))

  • Matthew Gudgeon

    (Boston University)

Abstract

The creation of new local governments is a pervasive feature of decentralization in developing countries. This redistricting process often causes substantial changes in two widely debated sources of conflict: diversity and contestable public resources. Using new geospatial data on violence and the plausibly exogenous timing of district creation in Indonesia, we show that allowing for redistricting along group lines can reduce conflict. However, these reductions are undone and even reversed if the newly defined electorates are ethnically polarized, particularly in areas that receive an entirely new seat of government. We highlight changes in the salience of ethnic cleavages as a key mechanism driving the violent contestation of political control. Overall, the findings illustrate the policy tradeoffs associated with redistricting and offer novel insight into the instrumental role of ethnicity in shaping conflict.

Suggested Citation

  • Samuel Bazzi & Matthew Gudgeon, 2016. "Local Government Proliferation, Diversity, and Conflict," Empirical Studies of Conflict Project (ESOC) Working Papers 5, Empirical Studies of Conflict Project.
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:esocpu:5
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Caterina Gennaioli & Stefania Lovo, 2019. "Public Goods and Ethnic Diversity: Evidence from Deforestation in Indonesia," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 86(341), pages 32-66, January.
    2. Cemal Eren Arbatlı & Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2015. "Diversity and Conflict," NBER Working Papers 21079, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Barron, Patrick & Kaiser, Kai & Pradhan, Menno, 2009. "Understanding Variations in Local Conflict: Evidence and Implications from Indonesia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 698-713, March.
    4. Pelle Ahlerup & Ola Olsson, 2012. "The roots of ethnic diversity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 71-102, June.
    5. Samuel Bazzi & Arya Gaduh & Alexander D. Rothenberg & Maisy Wong, 2016. "Skill Transferability, Migration, and Development: Evidence from Population Resettlement in Indonesia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(9), pages 2658-2698, September.
    6. Skoufias, Emmanuel & Narayan, Ambar & Dasgupta, Basab & Kaiser, Kai, 2014. "Electoral accountability and local government spending in Indonesia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6782, The World Bank.
    7. Cemal Eren Arbatli & Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The Nature of Civil Conflict," Working Papers 2013-15, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    8. Robin Burgess & Remi Jedwab & Edward Miguel & Ameet Morjaria & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2015. "The Value of Democracy: Evidence from Road Building in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1817-1851, June.
    9. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    10. Anirban Mitra & Debraj Ray, 2014. "Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 719-765.
    11. De Luca, Giacomo & Hodler, Roland & Raschky, Paul A. & Valsecchi, Michele, 2018. "Ethnic favoritism: An axiom of politics?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 115-129.
    12. Fitria Fitrani & Bert Hofman & Kai Kaiser, 2005. "Unity in diversity? The creation of new local governments in a decentralising Indonesia," Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 41(1), pages 57-79.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:injoed:v:64:y:2019:i:c:p:27-37 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Blesse, Sebastian, 2019. "Subnational border reforms and economic development in Africa," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-027, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    3. repec:wly:emetrp:v:86:y:2018:i:6:p:2083-2121 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Melissa Dell & Nathan Lane & Pablo Querubin, 2018. "The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 86(6), pages 2083-2121, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Indonesia; Violence; Political Development; Demographic/Socioeconomic;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q34 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Natural Resources and Domestic and International Conflicts

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