American Economic Review: Vol. 102 No. 4 (June 2012)


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Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Study

Article Citation

Esteban, Joan, Laura Mayoral, and Debraj Ray. 2012. "Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Study." American Economic Review, 102(4): 1310-42.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.102.4.1310


We examine empirically the impact of ethnic divisions on conflict, by using a specification based on Esteban and Ray (2011). That theory links conflict intensity to three indices of ethnic distribution: polarization, fractionalization, and the Gini-Greenberg index. The empirical analysis verifies that these distributional measures are significant correlates of conflict. These effects persist as we introduce country-specific measures of group cohesion and of the importance of public goods, and combine them with the distributional measures exactly as described by the theory. (JEL D63, D74, J15, O15, O17)

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Esteban, Joan (CSIC, Barcelona and Barcelona GSE)
Mayoral, Laura (CSIC, Barcelona and Barcelona GSE)
Ray, Debraj (NYU)

JEL Classifications

D63: Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
D74: Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
J15: Economics of Minorities, Races, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
O15: Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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