03 May 2010

Maybe grievances do cause conflict after all

Another counter-intuitive freakonomics-finding-fail?

Everyone knows that civil wars are driven by grievances right? Israel-Palestine and all that. Until along came the quants who found no relationship between measures of ethnic diversity or grievances with civil war. The claim was that diversity and grievances are too ubiquitous to be able to predict isolated incidences of conflict.

Until now. A new, more detailed GIS dataset from researchers at Zurich is finding some effects.

Our most recent dataset GeoEPR, which was published earlier this spring, offers a “bird’s eye view of ethnic settlements” around the world … the new dataset offers geo-coded information about ethnic groups’ settlement areas around the world from 1945 through 2005.

Based on this information, we show that excluded and downgraded groups are much more likely to experience civil-war violence. Furthermore, our most recent research, conducted by Lars-Erik Cederman, Kristian Gleditsch at University of Essex, and Nils Weidmann at Princeton University, uses GeoEPR data suggesting that ethnic groups that are either considerably less or more wealthy than the country average are also exposed to higher conflict risks. Such “horizontal inequality” has previously been associated with conflict, but our research is the first to do so globally with the help of geographic information systems (GIS).

From Lars-Erik Cederman at the University of Zurich Political Science blog.

You can download the data here.

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