State History, Historical Legitimacy and Modern Ethnic Diversity

Michael Bleaney, Arcangelo Dimico

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
328 Downloads (Pure)


How much does the antiquity of states, and the sometimes arbitrary nature of colonial boundaries, explain the modern degree of ethnic diversity? It is shown that states with greater historical legitimacy (more continuity between the pre-colonial and post-colonial state) have less ethnic diversity. Historical legitimacy is more strongly correlated with ethnic diversity than are the antiquity of states, genetic diversity or the duration of human settlement. Although historical legitimacy is particularly pertinent to Africa, the correlation also holds outside Africa.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-170
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Economy
Early online date24 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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