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Ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars

  • Montalvo, Jose G.
  • Reynal-Querol, Marta
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    The authors analyze the relationship between ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars. Several recent papers have argued that the uncertainty about the relative power of the contenders in a war will tend to increase its duration. In these models, uncertainty is directly related to the relative size of the contenders. The authors argue that the duration of civil wars increases the more polarized a society is. Uncertainty is not necessarily linked to the structure of the population but it could be traced back to the measurement of the size of the different groups in the society. Given a specific level of measurement error or uncertainty, more polarization implies lengthier wars. The empirical results show that ethnically polarized countries have to endure longer civil wars than ethnically less polarized societies.

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    Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4192.

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    Date of creation: 01 Apr 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4192
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    1. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2013. "On The Theory Of Ethnic Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 161-192, 01.
    2. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    3. Alastair Smith & Allan C. Stam, 2004. "Bargaining and the Nature of War," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 48(6), pages 783-813, December.
    4. Joan-Maria Esteban & Debraj Ray, 1991. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 18, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
    5. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Goverment," NBER Working Papers 6727, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2003. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Working Papers 46, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    7. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
    8. Bluedorn, John C., 2001. "Can democracy help? Growth and ethnic divisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 121-126, January.
    9. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "Interpreting ethnic fragmentation effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 271-276, April.
    10. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
    11. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
    12. 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.
    13. 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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