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Why ethnic fractionalization? Polarization, ethnic conflict and growth;
Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars
Garcia Montalvo, José; Reynal-Querol, Marta
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
This paper ia an attempt to clarify the relationship between fractionalization,polarization and conflict. The literature on the measurement of ethnic diversityhas taken as given that the proper measure for heterogeneity can be calculatedby using the fractionalization index. This index is widely used in industrialeconomics and, for empirical purposes, the ethnolinguistic fragmentation isready available for regression exercises. Nevertheless the adequacy of asynthetic index of hetergeneity depends on the intrinsic characteristicsof the heterogeneous dimension to be measured. In the case of ethnicdiversity there is a very strong conflictive dimension. For this reasonwe argue that the measure of heterogeneity should be one of the class ofpolarization measures. In fact the intuition of the relationship betweenconflict and fractionalization do not hold for more than two groups. Incontrast with the usual problem of polarization indices, which are ofdifficult empirical implementation without making some arbitrary choiceof parameters, we show that the RQ index, proposed by Reynal-Querol (2002),is the only discrete polarization measure that satisfies the basic propertiesof polarization. Additionally we present a derivation of the RQ index froma simple rent seeking model. In the empirical section we show that whileethnic polarization has a positive effect on civil wars and, indirectly ongrowth, this effect is not present when we use ethnic fractionalization.
Statistics, Econometrics and Quantitative Methods
ethnic heterogeneity
civil wars
economic developement
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