Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity

Author(s): Klaus Desmet, Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín and Romain Wacziarg

Publication Date: March 2015

Keyword(s): between-group diversity, civil conflict, cultural fractionalization, cultural traits, culture, ethnicity, heterogeneity, identity, social norms and within-group diversity

Programme Area(s): Development Economics and International Trade and Regional Economics

Abstract: We investigate the empirical relationship between ethnicity and culture, defined as a vector of traits reflecting norms, values and attitudes. Using surveys of individual values in 76 countries, we find that ethnic identity is a significant predictor of cultural values, yet that within-group  variation  in  culture  trumps  between-group  variation.  Thus,  in  contrast  to  a  commonly held view, ethnic and cultural diversity are unrelated. Although only a small portion of a country's overall cultural heterogeneity occurs between groups, we  find  that  various political economy outcomes (such as civil  conflict and public goods provision) worsen when there is greater overlap between ethnicity and culture.

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Bibliographic Reference

Desmet, K, Ortuño-Ortín, I and Wacziarg, R. 2015. 'Culture, Ethnicity and Diversity'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.