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Title: The Power of Numbers: Ethnic Group Size, Collective Action, and Ethnic Civil Conflict
Authors: Waddell Boie, Jaquilyn Rae
Advisors: Lieberman, Evan
Imai, Kosuke
Contributors: Politics Department
Keywords: collective action
ethnic conflict
ethnic politics
Subjects: Political Science
International relations
Public policy
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: Since the 1980s, ethnic civil conflicts, and especially self-determination movements, have dominated the type of armed conflicts present in the international system. While studies on ethnic civil violence have increased over the past several decades, there remains much debate regarding the conditions associated with the incidence of ethnic civil violence. The question remains: why do some ethnic groups choose to engage in certain types of civil violence while others do not? This dissertation contributes to the study of ethnic civil violence by analyzing the onset of such violence and offering a new theoretical approach to account for it. Drawing from theories of ethnic group dynamics, rational choice, and collective action, I argue that ethnic group size is an important determinant of ethnic group decisions to initiate ethnic civil violence. Utilizing quantitative analyses of global conflict data from 1946 to 2009, survey analyses of Afrobarometer data from 2005 to 2009, and comparative historical case studies drawn from Africa and Western Asia, I demonstrate that the likelihood of ethnic civil violence, as well as the form such violence takes, varies significantly with the proportion of the total state population an ethnic group constitutes. Specifically, I show that while small ethnic groups are more likely to initiate secession to establish independence from the state, large ethnic groups are more likely to attempt revolution to capture the center. Moreover, against the preponderant sentiment that there is ``power in numbers,'' I show that smaller groups challenge the state more frequently than large groups. Finally, I show that group member attitudes and preferences vary consistently with group size, and in accordance with the trends we observe in ethnic civil conflict. Taken together, these results suggest that there is power in numbers, and that ethnic groups utilize the strengths of their groups' relative size to seek redress of grievances.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Politics

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