On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict

35 Pages Posted: 15 May 2006 Last revised: 20 Aug 2010

See all articles by Francesco Caselli

Francesco Caselli

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Wilbur John Coleman

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group

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Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

We present a theory of ethnic conflict in which coalitions formed along ethnic lines compete for the economy%u2019s resources. The role of ethnicity is to enforce coalition membership: in ethnically homogeneous societies members of the losing coalition can defect to the winners at low cost, and this rules out conflict as an equilibrium outcome. We derive a number of implications of the model relating social, political, and economic indicators such as the incidence of conflict, the distance among ethnic groups, group sizes, income inequality, and expropriable resources.

Suggested Citation

Caselli, Francesco and Coleman, Wilbur John, On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict (March 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12125. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=893780

Francesco Caselli (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
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Wilbur John Coleman

Duke University, Fuqua School of Business-Economics Group ( email )

Box 90097
Durham, NC 27708-0097
United States
(919) 660-7962 (Phone)
(919) 660-7971 (Fax)

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