NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

"Unfinished Business": Ethnic Complementarities and the Political Contagion of Peace and Conflict in Gujarat

Saumitra Jha

NBER Working Paper No. 19203
Issued in July 2013
NBER Program(s):   DAE   DEV   POL

I examine how the historical legacies of inter-ethnic complementarity and competition influence contemporary electoral competition and its effects on patterns of ethnic violence. Using local comparisons within Gujarat, a single Indian state known for its non-violent local traditions yet also for widespread ethnic pogroms in 2002, I provide evidence that while towns with close votes in the preceding state elections do predict an increased incidence of ethnic riots, these effects are diminished in medieval port towns that historically enjoyed exogenous inter-ethnic complementarities. Furthermore, unlike other towns where pre-riot electoral competitiveness coincided with historic inter-ethnic competition and where the ruling party reaped well-targeted electoral dividends from the riots, medieval port constituencies exhibited a relative vote swing of more than seven percentage points against that party. These rendered medieval port constituencies marginal constituencies in future elections, which also saw less ethnic violence.

I interpret these results as consistent with the existence of a fundamentally conditional, yet magnifying interaction between electoral competition and local institutions in generating incentives for ethnic violence. Where marginal electoral constituencies coincide with or reflect pre-existing inter-ethnic economic competition, politicians have both enhanced local and state-wide incentives to foster ethnic mobilization and violence. On the other hand, when the focus of electoral competition shifts to constituencies enjoying complementary norms and organizations supporting local inter-ethnic tolerance, this can reduce state-wide incentives for ethnic violence.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from SSRN.com ($5) for electronic delivery.

Information about Free Papers

You should expect a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.

E-mail:

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19203

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Munshi and Rosenzweig w19197 Networks, Commitment, and Competence: Caste in Indian Local Politics
Satyanath, Voigtlaender, and Voth w19201 Bowling for Fascism: Social Capital and the Rise of the Nazi Party
De Giorgi and Pellizzari w19202 Understanding Social Interactions: Evidence from the Classroom
Atkin w19196 The Caloric Costs of Culture: Evidence from Indian Migrants
Baylis, Gong, and Wang w19195 Bridging vs. Bonding Social Capital and the Management of Common Pool Resources
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Data
People
About

Support
National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us