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Economic Benefits of Ethnolinguistic Diversity: Implications for International Politi ...

Chapter 1:  Introduction
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Economic Benefits of Ethnolinguistic Diversity:

Chapter 1

Introduction

Underlying Idea

Prevailing opinion in the field of international political economy holds that ethnolinguistic diversity has a negative impact on the economic performance of countries. Some scholars argue against this interpretation, however, asserting instead that under certain circumstances the negative impact of diversity is mitigated or even reversed. According to these scholars, ethnic diversity can have a positive impact on the economy. I examine this proposition within the context of the OECD countries to see to what extent this argument can be supported by the data.

The problem to be tackled is part of a broader discussion concerning the impact of ethnolinguistic diversity on economic outcomes.1 There has been a vivid discussion in the field of political economy concerning the effects of ethnolinguistic diversity on the economic performance of countries. Most of the studies in the field of political economy have pointed to the negative effects of diversity and have shown that ethnic diversity reduces the rate of economic growth (Alesina & Spolaore, 2003; Alesina, Spolaore, & Wacziarg, 2003b; Easterly & Levine, 1997; La Porta, Lopez de Silanes, Shleifer, & Vishny, 1999).