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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Conflict Resolution
Title Ethnic polarization, ethnic salience, and civil war
Volume 53
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 30-49
This article examines how the relationship between ethnic polarization and civil war could be moderated by different degrees of ethnic salience. Using an agent-based computational model, we analyze the polarization–con?ict relationship when ethnic salience is "?xed’’—high for every member of two nominally rival ethnic groups—and ‘‘variable’’—permitted to vary across individuals as a function of relative income. We ?nd that (1) when salience is ?xed, con?ict onset is twice as high at low levels of polarization compared to when salience is permitted to vary, with the difference decreasing at high levels of polarization; (2) the relationship between con?ict onset and the range over which we calculate variable salience is positive and robust for low and moderate levels of polarization; (3) the relationship between polarization and con?ict onset is robust even under minority domination, if one holds salience ?xed; and (4) holding ethnic salience ?xed effectively ampli?es the negative effect of polarization on economic performance.

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