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The Roots of Ethnic Diversity

Pelle Ahlerup and Ola Olsson ()

No 281, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: The level of ethnic diversity is believed to have significant consequences for economic and political development within countries. In this article, we provide a theoretical and empirical analysis of the determinants of ethnic diversity in the world. We introduce a model of cultural and ge- netic drift where new ethnic groups endogenously emerge among periph- eral populations as a response to an insufficient supply of public goods. In line with our model, we find that the duration of human settlements has a strong positive association with ethnic diversity. Ethnic diversity decreases with the length of modern state experience and with distance from the equator. Both "primordial" and "constructivist" hypotheses of ethnic fractionalization thus receive some support by our analysis.

Keywords: ethnicity; ethnic diversity; human origins (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N40 N50 P33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mig and nep-pol
Date: 2007-12-14
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Journal Article: The roots of ethnic diversity (2012) Downloads
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