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A Measure of Distance and Social Polarization: Political and Historical Roots

Author

Listed:
  • Talia Bar

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Metin M. Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Sadullah Yıldırım

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

We propose a distance measure between religions or other social groups which is based on historical interactions between them. In particular we assume that ruling people from another group drives a wedge between the ruling and ruled groups. Our measure allows for discounting of earlier historical interactions. The measure satisfies the distance axioms. Building on an existing literature on polarization, we use our distance to define an index polarization. We illustrate our index using data on historical religious ruling relations, and current religious composition of countries. The index can be useful for researchers studying conflict and growth.

Suggested Citation

  • Talia Bar & Metin M. Cosgel & Thomas J. Miceli & Sadullah Yıldırım, 2015. "A Measure of Distance and Social Polarization: Political and Historical Roots," Working papers 2015-14, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2015-14
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    Keywords

    distance; polarization; religion; political economy; historical roots; conflict;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • N30 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - General, International, or Comparative
    • O50 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - General

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