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Socioeconomic Inequality and Communal Conflict: A Disaggregated Analysis of Sub-Saharan Africa, 1990-2008
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research.
2014 (English)In: International Interactions, ISSN 0305-0629, E-ISSN 1547-7444, Vol. 40, no 5, 737-762 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article examines the role of economic inequality in influencing the risk of armed conflict between communal groups in Sub-Saharan Africa. We argue that socioeconomic inequality can generate intergroup grievances, which, due to the exclusionary legitimacy of the African state and elite incentives to engage in competitive mobilization of communal groups, precipitate violent communal conflict. To examine this argument, we rely on a series of household surveys to construct subnational inequality measures. For each region, we calculate measures of inequality in terms of household welfare and education between individuals (vertical inequality) and between ethnic groups (horizontal inequality). Combining the inequality data with new georeferenced data on communal conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa for the period 1990-2008, we find that regions with strong socioeconomic inequalities-both vertical and horizontal-are significantly more exposed to violent communal conflicts. More specifically, regions in which the largest ethnic group is severely disadvantaged compared to other groups are particularly prone to experience communal conflict.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 40, no 5, 737-762 p.
Keyword [en]
communal conflict, communal violence, Africa, horizontal inequality, vertical inequality
National Category
Other Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-237921DOI: 10.1080/03050629.2014.917373ISI: 000343984900005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-237921DiVA: diva2:770498
Available from: 2014-12-10 Created: 2014-12-08 Last updated: 2014-12-10Bibliographically approved

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Fjelde, Hanne
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