Article thumbnail

A Model of Ethnic Conflict

By Joan Esteban and Debraj Ray


We present a model of conflict, in which discriminatory government policy or social intolerance is responsive to various forms of ethnic activism, including violence. It is this perceived responsiveness ? captured by the probability that the government gives in and accepts a proponed change in ethnic policy?that induces individuals to mobilize in support for their cause. Yet, mobilization is costly and demonstrators have to be compensated accordingly. Individuals have to weigh their ethnic radicalism with their material well-being to determine the size of their money contribution to the cause. Our main results are: (i) a one-sided increase in radicalism or in population size increases conflict; (ii) a one-sided increase in income has ambiguous effects depending on the elasticity of contributions to income; (iii) an increase in within-group inequality increases conflict; and (iv) an increase in the correlation between ethnic radicalism and inequality also increases conflict.

OAI identifier: oai:RePEc:aub:autbar:701.07

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.

Suggested articles


  1. (2001),“Free Riding and the Group Size Paradox”
  2. (1998). Anticipating Ethnic Conflict,
  3. (1986). Competitive Ethnic Relations,
  4. (1979). Distribution, Redistribution and Development: where do we stand?”
  5. (2001). Do Ethnic and Non-Ethnic Civil Wars Have the Same Causes? A Theoretical and Empirical Enquiry (Part 1)”
  6. (1985). Ethnic Groups in Conflict,
  7. (1999). Ethnicity, Capital Formation, and Conflict” CID wp no. 27,
  8. (2002). Horizontal Inequalities: A Neglected Dimension of Development”wp
  9. (1979). In-Group Bias in the Minimal Intergroup Situation:
  10. (1998). Modernization and Politics of
  11. (1997). Self-Determination: Politics,
  12. (1995). Some Economics of Ethnic Capital Formation and Conflict” in A. Breton et al. (eds) Nationalism and Rationality,
  13. (1997). The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations:
  14. (1991). The Social Self: On Being the Same and Different at the Same Time”