The Dynamics of Ethnic Fragmentation

A Proposal for an Expanded Measurement Index


  • Tade O. Okediji

    1. University of Minnesota
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      Tade O. Okediji is a Visiting Associate Professor at the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, MN 55455; e-mail: His research interests include the political economy of ethnicity, economic development, and governance in developing multiethnic polities. The author wishes to thank the Centre for the Study of African Economies, Institute of Economics and Statistics, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK, for its research support during his tenure as a visiting research scholar in 1998. He also benefited immensely from conversations with Jan Dehn, Aparna Mitra, Ruth Okediji, and most especially Aaron T. Gana.


Abstract This paper identifies problems associated with the current empirical measurement of ethnic diversity in economic development literature. An expanded index of ethnic diversity is proposed to include variables such as religion and race, and the results are compared to the prevailing index utilized in empirical literature. The mean of the proposed index is significantly larger and the standard deviation is significantly smaller than that of the prevailing index. This would suggest that disparities in ethnic diversity among countries are not as wide as previously assumed. Further, these results confirm that a comprehensive and more accurate measure of ethnic diversity requires more than a linguistic measurement, which is the primary factor utilized in the prevailing index.