Insights on Immigration and Development
Working Papers
Working paper # 19

Linking Conflict to Inequality and Polarization

By Joan Maria Esteban and Debraj Ray
(May 2010)

In this paper we study a behavioral model of conflict that provides a basis for choosing certain indices of dispersion as indicators for conflict. We show that the (equilibrium) level of conflict can be expressed as an (approximate) linear function of the Gini coefficient, the Herfindahl-Hirschman fractionalization index, and a specific measure of polarization due to Esteban and Ray.

JEL-Classification: D74, D31

Key-words: conflict, polarization, inequality.


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