Working Paper No. 589

Ethnic Diversity and Civil War

Published: October 14, 2002Pages: 33Keywords: Civil War; Ethnic Diversity; Redistribution; Dynamic GameJEL-codes: H56; J15; K42; N40; N47

Ethnic Diversity and Civil War Thomas P. Tangerås and Nils-Petter Lagerlöf


We construct a model in which a number of equally powerful ethnic groups compete for power by engaging in civil war. In non-redistributive equilibrium, ethnically homogeneous and ethnically diverse countries face a lower probability of civil war than countries with a moderate degree of ethnic diversity. The likelihood of conflict is maximized when there are two ethnic groups. When rent-extraction possibilities are not too big and society sufficiently ethnically homogeneous, there also exists a pacific equilibrium path sustained by redistribution from the ruling group to the out-of-power groups.

Interdisciplinary European Studies

The European Union in a Changing World Order

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This book explores how the European Union responds to the ongoing challenges to the liberal international order. These challenges arise both within the EU itself and beyond its borders, and put into question the values of free trade and liberal democracy. 

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