Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Modernization, Social Identity, and Ethnic Conflict

Yuki, Kazuhiro (2015): Modernization, Social Identity, and Ethnic Conflict.

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Empirical evidence suggests that ethnic divisions or diversity in a society leads to negative outcomes in various dimensions, including civil conflict and economic development. It is often argued that the lack of shared social identity, that is, the dominance of subnational (particularly, ethnic) identities over national identity, lies behind the negative outcomes in ethnically heterogenous societies. If shared national identity is important, how can it be realized? In political science, there exist conflicting theses emphasizing effects of modernization on national identity. Which thesis is more relevant under what conditions? How are conflict and output affected by modernization through identity? How do policies such as "nation-building" policies affect the outcome?

In order to examine these questions theoretically, this paper develops a model of social identity, ethnic conflict, and development. In the model, individuals choose a sector to work (between the modern sector and a traditional sector), social identity (between ethnic identity and national identity), and contributions to ethnic conflict. Thus, modernization (and output), identity, and conflict interact with each other.

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