Ethnicity, Regime Type and the Tendency for Violence

Jacob P Dinn


Within the study of ethnicity and violence, there is a compelling puzzle: the number of ethnic groups in the world exceeds the number of violent ethnic conflicts. This puzzle alludes to an important question: what explains the tendency for violence among ethnic groups in multiethnic states? This essay argues that the tendency for violent ethnic conflict in multiethnic states depends on the regime type of the state. Using data from the Democracy Index developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (2017) to classify regimes, this paper will argue that ‘anocratic’ regimes have a higher tendency for ethnic violence than states classified as ‘full democracies’ or ‘authoritarian regimes’. This essay contributes to the literature on ethnic violence and how regime type is an important and overlooked variable for explaining its onset.

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