Ideas to Action:

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Patterns of Ethnic Group Segregation and Civil Conflict

Friday, February 9, 2007 - 12:00pm to 1:30pm

Center for Global Development presents a brown bag seminar on
Patterns of Ethnic Group Segregation and Civil Conflict*

Janina Matuszeski
Harvard University

Janina is a Ph.D. candidate at Harvard University

Friday, February 9, 2007
12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Center for Global Development
1800 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Third Floor, Washington, D.C.

Abstract: We present a new index of ethnic geography, the Ethnic Diversity and Clustering (EDC) index, which measures the clustering of ethnic groups within a country, as well as the overall ethnic diversity of the country. Using digital map data for over 7000 linguistic groups around the world, we construct the EDC index for 189 countries. We also calculate the traditional Ethno-Linguistic Fractionalization (ELF) index of ethnic diversity for 189 countries, including 186 countries for which we also have the EDC index. In cross-country regressions, our EDC and ELF indices are significantly correlated with measures of civil war, including the number of conflicts, total time spent in war, and total combatant deaths. Evidence from regressions using both indices indicates that civil war is more frequent and severe in countries where citizens of a given ethnic group tend to be more clustered together. Results for the average duration of conflicts are weaker for both indices. In addition, higher levels of ethnic diversity and clustering are associated with an increased incidence of civil conflict for countries with the straighter borders typical of artificial states, but not for other countries. Our results are robust to the inclusion of controls for former colonial status, continent, and climate.

*Co-authored with Frank Schneider, Harvard University

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