Political problems and political solutions
Stringfield, Barbara Smith
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This study focuses on ethnic conflict and the management of that conflict through the use of electoral institutions, tools that are believed to be the most agreeable to design or reform. There is a relatively broad consensus that the use of the proportional representation electoral method (PR) is preferable over the majoritarian form in deeply divided societies. In spite of the ability of the theoretical arguments made on behalf of PR, why does ethnic conflict continue in systems in which it is used? Second, does PR have the same effect on conflict between ethnic groups as it does on rebellion? Through a large-N analysis using logistic regression I find that PR does reduce conflict between groups relative to majoritarianism, but the statistical strength of its effect is modest, suggesting a further need for study of this phenomenon.