Inequality and Conflict

  • Joan Maria Esteban Instituto de Análisis Económico, CSIC and BGSE


Over the second half of the 20th century, the frequency of conflicts within national boundaries increased. One-third of all countries experienced civil conflict. There are two remarkable facts about social conflict that deserve attention: first, within-country conflicts account for an enormous share of deaths and hardship in the world today, and second, internal conflicts often appear to be ethnic in nature. Which factors influence social conflict? Do ethnic divisions predict conflict within countries? How do we conceptualize those divisions? If ethnic cleavages and conflicts are related, how do we interpret such a result? Is ethnicity instrumental achieving political power or economic gain? We provide indices of ethnic diversity in the society, fractionalization and ethnic polarization, and find significant relationships with respect to social conflict.
Lectures on Inequality at University of Luxembourg