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.

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