Disarming Fears of Diversity: Ethnic Heterogeneity and State Militarization, 1988-2002
Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 45, No. 4, 2008
33 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2005 Last revised: 8 Mar 2009
Date Written: May 1, 2006
We address the question of state militarization under conditions of ethnic and other diversity. Primordialist claims about ancient hatreds, fear, and insecurity in such societies would lead one to expect that fractionalization, polarization and ethno-nationalist exclusion would prompt governments to militarize heavily. However, contrary to such expectations, we find that higher levels of ethnic diversity predict lower levels of militarisation, whereas higher polarization and ethno-nationalist exclusion trigger neither lower nor higher levels of militarization. If fractionalization lowers the hazard of civil war, as many find, then it does not happen via a garrison state effect. We discuss two potential explanations for our findings, one drawing from the empirical conflict literature, the other stemming from economists' study of public goods provision under conditions of diversity. We argue that our findings are best seen as consistent with and complementary to the empirical literature on conflict onset and duration.
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