Compete, Concede or Fight? Official Recognition of Ethnicity, Redistribution and Democratic Stability

59 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 17 Sep 2010

See all articles by Tolga Sinmazdemir

Tolga Sinmazdemir

Bogazici University; Washington University in St. Louis

Date Written: August 27, 2010

Abstract

How do policies that imply official recognition of ethnic identities affect democratic stability in the presence of redistributive conflict? In order to answer this question, I develop a game-theoretic model of two-dimensional electoral competition in which voters have divergent preferences over policies of recognition and income redistribution, while candidates have the option of resorting to violence and subverting democracy if they are dissatisfied with the election results. First, I find that democracies at medium income levels remain stable with or without policies of recognition and do not deviate from the status quo policy on this issue due to redistributive consequences of such a deviation for the poor group supporting the status quo. Second, when income distribution is more equal in democracies that block recognition, ethnic minorities have stronger incentives to initiate a fight on behalf of their recognition demands. Third, ethnically heterogenous coalitions may redistribute more than homogenous coalitions if deviations to break a coalition lead to inter-group fighting.

Keywords: ethnicity, redistribution, democratic stability

Suggested Citation

Sinmazdemir, Tolga, Compete, Concede or Fight? Official Recognition of Ethnicity, Redistribution and Democratic Stability (August 27, 2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642689

Tolga Sinmazdemir (Contact Author)

Bogazici University ( email )

34342 Bebek - Istanbul
Turkey

Washington University in St. Louis ( email )

Seigle 259, Campus Box 1063
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
314-9353534 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://files.nyu.edu/nts215/public/Site/Home.html

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