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A Measure of Distance and Social Polarization: Political and Historical Roots

Talia Bar (), Metin Cosgel (), Thomas Miceli () and Sadullah Yıldırım ()

No 2015-14, Working papers from University of Connecticut, Department of Economics

Abstract: We propose a distance measure between religions or other social groups which is based on historical interactions between them. In particular we assume that ruling people from another group drives a wedge between the ruling and ruled groups. Our measure allows for discounting of earlier historical interactions. The measure satisfies the distance axioms. Building on an existing literature on polarization, we use our distance to define an index polarization. We illustrate our index using data on historical religious ruling relations, and current religious composition of countries. The index can be useful for researchers studying conflict and growth.

Keywords: distance; polarization; religion; political economy; historical roots; conflict (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 D74 N30 O50 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ban, nep-law and nep-ure
Date: 2015-12
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Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2015-14