'Unfinished Business': Historic Complementarities, Political Competition and Ethnic Violence in Gujarat

38 Pages Posted: 18 Aug 2014

See all articles by Saumitra Jha

Saumitra Jha

Stanford Graduate School of Business

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Date Written: 2014

Abstract

I examine how the historical legacies of inter-ethnic complementarity and competition interact with contemporary electoral competition in shaping patterns of ethnic violence. Using local comparisons within Gujarat, a single Indian state known for both its non-violent local traditions and for widespread ethnic pogroms in 2002, I provide evidence that where political competition was focused upon towns where ethnic groups have historically competed, there was a rise in the propensity for ethnic rioting and increased electoral support for the incumbent party complicit in the violence. However, where political competition was focused in towns that historically enjoyed inter-ethnic complementarities, there were fewer ethnic riots, and these towns also voted against the incumbent. These historic legacies proved to be important predictors of the identity of the winner even in very close electoral races. I argue that these results reflect the role local inter-ethnic economic relations can play in altering the nature and the benefits of political campaigns that encourage ethnic violence.

Keywords: Trade, Institutions, Political Polarization, Elections, Culture, Religion, Cities, Ethnic Conflict, Social Norms, Peace

JEL Classification: N25, O18, Z12, F10

Suggested Citation

Jha, Saumitra, 'Unfinished Business': Historic Complementarities, Political Competition and Ethnic Violence in Gujarat (2014). APSA 2014 Annual Meeting Paper; Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 14-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2452950

Saumitra Jha (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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