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Ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars

Author

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  • Montalvo, Jose G.
  • Reynal-Querol, Marta

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2007. "Ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4192, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4192
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. José 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.
    2. 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, January.
    3. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    4. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    5. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    6. Vigdor, Jacob L., 2002. "Interpreting ethnic fragmentation effects," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 271-276, April.
    7. Powell, Robert, 2004. "The Inefficient Use of Power: Costly Conflict with Complete Information," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 98(2), pages 231-241, May.
    8. Jean-Yves Duclos & Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2004. "Polarization: Concepts, Measurement, Estimation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(6), pages 1737-1772, November.
    9. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2002. "Why ethnic fractionalization? Polarization, ethnic conflict and growth," Economics Working Papers 660, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Sep 2002.
    10. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, 2004. "Greed and grievance in civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 563-595, October.
    11. Bluedorn, John C., 2001. "Can democracy help? Growth and ethnic divisions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 70(1), pages 121-126, January.
    12. Nils Petter Gleditsch & Peter Wallensteen & Mikael Eriksson & Margareta Sollenberg & Hã…Vard Strand, 2002. "Armed Conflict 1946-2001: A New Dataset," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 39(5), pages 615-637, September.
    13. 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.
    14. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
    15. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Marta Reynal-Querol, 2002. "Ethnicity, Political Systems, and Civil Wars," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 46(1), pages 29-54, February.
    17. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    18. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2009. "Civil War: A Review of Fifty Years of Research," Working Papers id:2231, eSocialSciences.
    2. Ahmed Mahmud & Juan Vargas, 2011. "Combatant recruitment and the outcome of war," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 51-74, March.
    3. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    4. Blattman, Christopher & Miguel, Edward, 2009. "Civil War," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt90n356hs, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.

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    Keywords

    Social Conflict and Violence; Population Policies; Peace&Peacekeeping; Post Conflict Reintegration; Services&Transfers to Poor;
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