Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Ethnic and religious conflicts, political systems and growth
Author: Reynal-Querol, Marta.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3514 5216
Awarding Body: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Current Institution: London School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
This thesis studies the importance of ethnic conflict in explaining the poor economic performance of some countries and the relevance of political institutions to reduce this effect. The first two chapters study the role that each dimension of ethnicity plays in the process of economic development. We cover essentially four issues: first, and in contrast with the ethnic characteristics considered in many studies, this thesis emphasizes the importance of religious conflict in the explanation of economic growth. Second, we consider an index of polarization, instead of the traditional index of fragmentation, in order to measure conflict. We provide a theoretical explanation for the index based on a rent-seeking model approach applied to the behaviour of religious groups. Third, we elaborate a database of religious diversity within countries and finally we analyze the channels through which religious polarization affects growth. This constitutes a new contribution to what has been done until now in the literature that studies the relation between ethnic diversity and economic growth. The main finding is that religious conflict is an important factor in explaining economic growth and it is also an important explanation for the so called "African growth tragedy". Interestingly, when religious diversity measures are included the ethnolinguistic diversity measure employed by Easterly and Levine (1997) turns out to be insignificant suggesting that the former may be more important in explaining the poor economic performance both in Africa and elsewhere. The third chapter analyzes the effect of political systems on preventing or reducing violence. It is generally agreed that a high level of democracy is not a sufficient condition for eliminating the risk of armed conflicts in heterogeneous societies. We show that the combination of the electoral system and the democracy level have a high explanatory power on the probability of a civil war. The reason for the important role of voting rules in preventing armed conflicts is their relative ability to affect the opportunity cost of rebellion. Given a particular level of democracy, countries with majoritarian or presidential systems are more prone to violence than countries with proportional systems where the opportunity cost of rebellion is higher. Therefore it seems that freedom is not a sufficiently effective vaccine against violence, even if it is necessary.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political science