NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

On the Theory of Ethnic Conflict

Francesco Caselli, Wilbur John Coleman II

NBER Working Paper No. 12125
Issued in March 2006
NBER Program(s):   EFG

We present a theory of ethnic conflict in which coalitions formed along ethnic lines compete for the economy’s 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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12125

Published: Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2013. "On The Theory Of Ethnic Conflict," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 161-192, 01. citation courtesy of

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