JICA Research Institute

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Working Papers

No.69 Inter-Ethnic Hostility and Mobility of Political Power:Changing Influences of Perceived Horizontal Inequalities

The purpose of this paper is to illuminate the origins of inter-ethnic hostility, which need to be addressed if the centripetalism institutions are to function properly. Using intention of ethnic voting as an indicator of inter-group discrimination, this paper tests several classic hypotheses adapted from social psychology based on the surveys conducted in 14 urban areas from six sub-Saharan African countries. Results show, among others, that horizontal inequalities, when perceived either advantageously or disadvantageously, actually increase the level of inter-group hostility, but that the malicious effect is context-dependent: a greedy tendency in terms of socio-economic group inequality is limited to non-minorities; minorities who think their own group is superior to others economically do not have stronger hostility towards others compared to those who do not see any socio-economic gap; perceived horizontal inequalities matter chiefly in the countries without any kind of political power mobility; hostility between groups is not associated with perceived horizontal inequalities in countries where experience of power sharing or change of government has convinced people that political change is not impossible.

Keywords: Horizontal inequalities, Ethnic voting, Centripetalism, Sub-Saharan Arica,Inter-group discrimination

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