Ethnicity and Conflict

  • There are basically two perspectives we want to understand
    • Fearon & Laitin (2003)
    • Cederman et. al. (2011)
  • Discuss
    • Are diverse societies likely to experience conflict?
    • What are “horizontal inequalities” and how do they matter for conflict?

Role of Political Systems

  • Electoral systems
    • Majoritarian vs. proportional
  • Centralization of Authority
    • Federal vs. unitary
  • Executive authority
    • Presidential vs. parliamentary

Majoritarian Systems

  • ‘First past the post’ (FPTP)
    • One winner per district
    • Examples: U.S., U.K., Canada
  • Duverger’s law
    • n + 1 rule
    • SMD tends toward two party competition

First Past the Post

Proportional Representation (PR)

  • Number of seats based on % of votes won by party
  • Voters vote for party, which fields a list of candidates
  • Closed list PR = most common
    • Party leaders decide composition of list
    • No write-ins or reordering of candidates

Example of PR (MMP)

Consociationalism (Lijphart)

  • Emphasis: direct representation of minority interests
    • Power sharing
    • Group autonomy
  • Ideal system
    • Parliamentary with PR
    • Presidentialism not okay
    • Federalism

Centripetalism (Horowitz)

  • ‘Centripetal’–directed towards the center
    • Emphasizes national unity
    • Common ground
  • Ideal system
    • Federalism = divisive
    • Presidentialism okay
    • Instant runoff voting

Instant Runoff Voting

  • AKA “alternative vote”, “ranked choice”
  • Rank candidates (1st, 2nd, 3rd)
    • No clear winner, votes of losing candidate redistributed among other candidates
  • Majoritarian, but minimizes ‘wasted votes’
    • 1st preferences for kin and clan
    • Subsequent preferences issue-based
  • Single Transferable Vote employs a similar runoff concept but for multi-member districts.

IRV in the Animal Kingdom

RCV used historically in U.S. states as well as Australia (parliament) and Ireland (president).

Ethnic Divisions in Iraq

Iraq Case (Small Groups)

What system of government would work?
Parliamentary or presidential? Electoral system? Federal or unitary?
Refer to video “Losing Iraq”

Iraqi National Assembly

  • AKA ‘Council of Representatives

    • Closed list PR
    • 275 seats
    • 230 allocated based on number of registered voters in Iraq’s 18 ‘governates’
    • 45 ‘compensatory’ seats
    • 25% reserved for women
  • Does PR exacerbate ethnic divisions?