(C1) Feedback Effects between Formal Representative Institutions and Ethnic Mobilization

A first batch of mechanisms identifies an iterative relationship between ethnic mobilization and existing formal representative institutions as a major driver of state capacity. In this perspective, ethnic groups are centrally concerned with formal recognition and inclusion. In order to change existing institutional arrangements ethnic groups frequently push for new legislation that establishes or advances their representation (see Amenta et al. 2010). Their demands include, but are not limited to, federalism, asymmetrical federal structures, consociationalism, but also affirmative action, quotas, and other special group rights in education, employment, health, and electoral systems. While the debate about what forms of ethnic mobilization are particularly influential in shaping representative institutions remains inconclusive,[1] there appears to be a consensus that, once introduced, these

Table 9.4. Causal mechanism set (C): institutional change

Conceptual approach to ethnicity

Causal mechanism

Affected dimension(s) of state capacity


Ethnic mobilization

Feedback effects between formal representative institutions and ethnic mobilization (+)

Public goods provision (+/-) Administrative competence (+/-) Extractive capacity (+/-)


Ethnic mobilization

Introduction of new formal representative institutions (+)

Public goods provision (+/-) Administrative competence (+/-) Territorial reach (+/-)


Ethnic mobilization

Informal control over (parts of) state apparatus (+)

Distribution of public goods (-) Administrative competence (-)

Source: Authors.

institutions have major feedback effects on ethnic collective action. There are at least two rival models that map out the relationship.

On the one hand are those who argue that the expansion of formal representative platforms to incorporate ethnic groups has negative implications for state capacity. Drawing on case studies from eleven Southern African countries, Evan Lieberman and Prerna Singh (2012) find that the institutionalization of ethnic representation deepens ethnic cleavages and ultimately leads to an increased proclivity for ethnic violence, thereby undermining the administrative competence and fiscal capacity of the state. On the other hand, the literature on ethno-political exclusion (Cederman et al. 2010; Cederman and Girardin 2007; Chandra and Wilkinson 2008) suggests almost the opposite. In this perspective, the institutionalization of formal ethnic representation can potentially overcome power differentials among rival ethnic groups. This, in turn, leads to lower instances of mobilization and, potentially reduces the likelihood of ethnic violence.

  • [1] The literature on political parties points to a variety of factors that determine electoralsuccess and, by extension, impact on institutional change. Scholars emphasize party appeals(e.g. exclusionary vs. populist-inclusive) (Chandra 2007; Madrid 2012), party organization(e.g. Levitsky 2003), ties to ethnic movements (Van Cott 2005), and political context, most
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >