DLJFNSF - Collaborative Project: "Minorities at Risk" Data...

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Collaborative Project: "Minorities at Risk" Data Base and Explaining Ethnic Violence NSF Grant Proposal James D. Fearon -- Stanford University David D. Laitin -- University of Chicago The "Minorities at Risk" (hereafter MAR) data base produced by Ted R. Gurr and associates has been widely used in the scientific community (give cites). It has great potential to serve as the evidentiary arbitor of competing theories of ethnic violence. Large-scale ethnic violence is an interesting and important topic both because of the enormous human suffering it causes and because it could be an important piece of evidence in the larger puzzle of how world politics and polities are now evolving. Furthermore, civil and especially ethnic violence is certainly much more common now than is interstate violence of the classical sort, and it tends to be more protracted than interstate wars as well. (See Licklider 1995 and Walter 1997 for evidence on the intractability of civil and ethnic conflicts.) Because of the trend of greater degrees of ethnic violence, and because of its importance for policy and for theories of world politics, the MAR data base will play an increasingly important role in the search for explanations for this violence. Despite its wide use and great potential, however, the data base suffers from some fundamental flaws. The first purpose of this project is to work with the Gurr team to improve substantially the scientific quality of the MAR data base, such that the social science community will have a much better resource for the study of ethnic violence than is currently available. The second purpose of this project is to exploit the newly created data base in order to make cross-sectional and time-series comparisons of violent and non-violent cases of relations between ethnic groups and states, in order to answer two questions. First, what forms or types of ethnic violence have been the most lethal in the period since 1945? Second, using the MAR case list, are there any obvious features that distinguish the ethnic groups that have been involved in large-scale violence against other groups from those that have not? I. The Promise and the Flaws of the MAR Data Base The MAR data set developed by Gurr and his associates contains information on some 268 culturally defined minority groups in 115 countries, with 449 variables coded concerning the social, cultural, political and military situation of these groups vis-a-vis other groups and the state since the end of World War II. The data have been systematically updated to take into account the creation of new states (and new minorities) in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia. (Minorities at Risk Phase III Dataset: Users' Manual, August 1996, University of Maryland. See also Gurr 1993a, 1993b, 1994). The literature on ethnic conflict/violence before the development of the MAR data base
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This note was uploaded on 12/01/2011 for the course PSY 385 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '10 term at Central Mich..

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DLJFNSF - Collaborative Project: "Minorities at Risk" Data...

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