October 14, 2022

Ethnicity and Conflict

Outline

  • Do elections \(\to\) ethnic conflict?

  • Institutions Matter

    • Horowitz
    • Posner
    • Chandra

Elections and Conflict

Elections and Conflict

Horowitz suggests ethnic parties contesting elections can drive conflict:

  1. Ethnic parties face strategic logic that pulls them toward extreme positions.
  2. Like all parties, ethnic parties downplay internal divisions: avoid issues that might unify voters across ethnic groups, emphasize issues that divide ethnic groups
  3. Elections become ethnic censuses: for ethnic parties, loss portrayed as losing group is FOREVER shut out of power. exclusion \(\to\) conflict

If ethnic parties likely to emerge (and reasons to expect this), then likely to generate conflict.

Elections and Conflict

If this logic is true: should expect that proximity to elections, particularly competitive elections increases conflict.

  • ethnic party leaders should mobilize people along ethnicity (around election time)
  • ethnic parties should deploy divisive rhetoric (esp. when elections are competitive)

As a result,

  • people should intensify their identification with an ethnic group, have more antagonistic inter-group attitudes
  • violence should be more likely (we’ll come back to this later)

Elections and Conflict

Eifert et al (2010); Gadjanova (2021)

  • look at respondents to Afro-Barometer (several rounds, random sample survey in many countries)

  • compare respondents in the same country when election is recent vs. distant in time

  • when elections are nearby, are people more/less likely to…

    • identify ethnically vs other identities?
    • perceive ethnic discrimination?
    • distrust other ethnic groups?

Elections and Conflict

Eifert et al (2010); Gadjanova (2021)

  • look at respondents to Afro-Barometer (several rounds, random sample survey in many countries)

  • compare respondents in the same country when election is recent vs. distant in time

  • when elections are nearby, are people more/less likely to…

    • identify ethnically vs other identities?: YES (Eifert et al 2010)
    • perceive ethnic discrimination? YES (Gadjanova 2021)
    • distrust other ethnic groups? YES (Gadjanova 2021)

Especially, when elections are more competitive.

Elections and Conflict

Elections and Conflict