Seminar with Lasse Leipziger (Aarhus University)

Title of the presentation "Ethnic Inequality and Regime Change: Investigating an Asymmetric Relationship"


Do socioeconomic disparities between ethnic groups affect the likelihood of a country to democratize and remain democratic? I argue theoretically that higher ethnic socioeconomic inequality does not one-sidedly reduce the likelihood of transitioning to democracy. Although such inequalities give rise to grievances that fuel the demand for democracy, they also make the ruling elites from dominant groups less willing to concede political rights. Moreover, I argue that ethnic inequality is clearly related to democratic breakdowns, because high-inequality countries are more likely to experience distributional conflict and polarization. Investigating these arguments with panel data for 162 countries for 120 years, I find that ethnic inequality is not significantly associated with the likelihood of democratization. However, there is a strong and robust association between ethnic inequality and the risk of democratic breakdown. A quantitative examination of the mechanisms provides further evidence of the theoretical argument.


To receive the Zoom link, please contact Marina Povitkina 

Published Sep. 21, 2021 1:47 PM - Last modified Oct. 22, 2021 1:58 PM