Electoral Systems, Racial Tension and Decentralization

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In many countries, the accommodation of ethnic, linguistic and religious diversities is a major challenge. The scope of this paper is to attempt to understand which political arrangements might facilitate inter-ethnic cohabitation. It is indeed extremely important to understand which electoral system could be seen as the most efficient in reducing racial tensions both in the short and in the long run. The core of the work is the study of the effect that electoral systems have on racial tensions but also their interactive effects with decentralization. Using the best available data (coming from the International Country Risk Guide) and the techniques we believe to be the most appropriate (Interval Censored Regression) we find interesting results: first, majoritarian systems seem to be positively related to high levels of ethnic tensions while proportional representations seem particularly appropriate for reducing such tensions. Second, we find that presidentialism, is associated to lower levels of racial tensions. Finally we find that decentralization is more efficient under parliamentarism than under presidentialism for allowing a better ethnic cohabitation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-386
Number of pages20
JournalActa Nova : revista de Ciencias y Tecnologia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2003


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