Ethnicity and elections

Authored by: Rubén Ruiz-Rufino

Routledge Handbook of Comparative Political Institutions

Print publication date:  April  2015
Online publication date:  April  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415630887
eBook ISBN: 9781315731377
Adobe ISBN: 9781317551799


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Ethnicity, broadly defined as the fragmentation of a society along linguistic or religious cleavages, has been used by scholars to explain a large variety of questions ranging from inequality (Alesina and Glaeser 2004) or economic growth (Birnir and Waguespack 2011) to electoral success (Chandra 2007). However, a large bulk of the literature on ethnicity is devoted to explaining the relationship between models of institutional design and political stability (Elkins and Sides 2007; Fearon and Laitin 2003). The, as yet, unfinished academic debate on this question discusses whether ethnically accommodating institutions, like proportional representation electoral systems (PR), parliamentarian systems or federalism reduces or not ethnic tensions (Lijphart 1977, 1991; Horowitz 1985).

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