Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 119–140 | Cite as

Environmental Performance in Socially Fragmented Countries

  • Elissaios Papyrakis


Social fragmentation is often associated with reduced co-operative behaviour, which undermines public goods provision (such as environmental protection). The few studies linking social fragmentation and environmental performance have been confined to using ethnic fractionalisation as the only measure of social heterogeneity. In this paper, we contribute to the literature in a twofold manner. First, we bring into the analysis alternative measures of social fragmentation (i.e. religious fractionalisation, ethnic/religious polarisation), that have received considerable attention in development economics in recent years. Second, this is the first study to our knowledge that makes use of a large panel dataset of several environmental indicators to explore links between ethnic/religious diversity and the environment. We find that all indices of social fragmentation are negatively linked to measures of environmental quality, although for some of them the size of the effect is larger in the case of polarisation.


Environmental performance Fractionalisation Polarisation 

JEL Classification

Q50 Z13 



The author thanks the editor and two anonymous referees for their many helpful comments on the paper.


  1. Abadie A (2006) Poverty, political freedom, and the roots of terrorism. Am Econ Rev 96(2):50–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alesina A, Baqir R, Easterly W (1999) Public goods and ethnic divisions. Q. J Econ 114(4):1243–1284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alesina A, Devleeschauwer A, Easterly W, Kurlat S, Wacziarg R (2003) Fractionalization. J Econ Growth 8(2):155–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Alesina A, La Ferrara E (2000) Participation in heterogeneous communities. Q J Econ 115(3):847–904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alesina A, La Ferrara E (2005) Ethnic diversity and economic performance. J Econ Lit 43(3):762–800CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Annett A (2001) Social fractionalization, political instability, and the size of the government. IMF Staff Pap 48(3):561–592Google Scholar
  7. Apergis N, Payne JE (2009) \(\text{ CO}_{2}\) emissions, energy usage, and output in Central America. Energy Policy 37(8):3282–3286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Arezki R, Brückner M (2012) Commodity windfalls, polarization, and net foreign assets: Panel data evidence on the voracity effect. J Int Econ 86(2):318–326CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Baggio J, Papyrakis E (2010) Ethnic diversity, property rights and natural resources. Dev Econ 48(4):473–495CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barrett DB (1982) World christian encyclopedia: a comparative survey of churches and religions in the world. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  11. Beck T (2008) The econometrics of finance and growth. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No 4608Google Scholar
  12. Becker GS (1957) The economics of discrimination. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  13. Becker GS, Glaeser EL, Murphy KN (1999) Population and economic growth. Am Econ Rev 89(2):145–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Campos NF, Kuzeyev V (2011) On the dynamics of ethnic fractionalization. Am J Polit Sci 51(3):620–639CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Campos NF, Saleh A, Kuzeyev V (2011) Dynamic ethnic fractionalization and economic growth. J Int Trade Econ Dev 20(2):129–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cole MA (2007) Corruption, income and the environment: an empirical analysis. Ecol Econ 62(3–4):637–647CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Collier P (2001) Implications of ethnic diversity. Econ Policy 16(32):127–166CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Damania R (2002) Environmental controls with corrupt bureaucrats. Environ Dev Econ 7(3):407–427Google Scholar
  19. Damette O, Delacote P (2011) Unsustainable timber harvesting, deforestation and the role of certification. Ecol Econ 70(6):1211–1219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Das J, DiRienzo CE (2010) Is ethnic diversity good for the environment? A cross-country analysis. Environ Dev 19(1):91–113CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. De Mello JM, Zilberman E (2008) Does crime affect economic decisions? An empirical investigation of savings in a high-crime environment. BE J Econ Anal Policy 8(1):1–26Google Scholar
  22. De Soysa I, Neumayer E (2005) False prophet, or genuine savior? Assessing the effects of economic openness on sustainable development, 1980–99. Intern Organ 59(3):731–772Google Scholar
  23. Deacon RT, Norman CS (2006) Does the environmental Kuznets curve describe how individual countries behave? Land Econ 82(2):291–315Google Scholar
  24. Dincer OC (2008) Ethnic and religious diversity and corruption. Econ Lett 99(1):98–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Dulal HB, Foa R, Knowles S (2011) Social capital and cross-country environmental performance. J Environ Dev 20(2):121–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Easterly W, Levine R (1997) Africa’s growth tragedy: policies and ethnic divisions. Q J Econ 112(4):1203–1250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Emerson PM (2006) Corruption, competition, and democracy. J Dev Econ 81(1):193–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Esteban J, Ray D (2008) On the salience of ethnic conflict. Am Econ Rev 98(5):2185–2202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Esteban J, Ray D (2011) Linking conflict to inequality and polarization. Am Econ Rev 101(4):1345–1374CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Esty DC, Porter ME (2005) National environmental performance: an empirical analysis of policy results and determinants. Environ Dev Econ 10(4):391–434CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Fearon JD, Laitin DD (1996) Explaining interethnic cooperation. Am Polit Sci Rev 90(4):715–735CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Fredriksson P, Svensson J (2003) Political instability, corruption and policy formation: the case of environmental policy. J Public Econ 87(7–8):1383–1405CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Fredriksson P, Vollebergh HRJ, Dijkgraaf E (2004) Corruption and energy efficiency in OECD countries: theory and evidence. J Envirn Econ Manag 47(2):207–231CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Freedom House (2010) Freedom in the world. Freedom House, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  35. Galeotti M, Lanza A, Pauli F (2006) Reassessing the environmental Kuznets curve for \(\text{ CO}_{2}\) emissions: a robustness exercise. Ecol Econ 57(1):152–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Glaeser EL, Saks RE (2006) Corruption in America. J Public Econ 90(6–7):1053–1072CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gorsevski V, Kasischke E, Dempewolf J, Loboda T, Grossmann F (2012) Analysis of the impacts of armed conflict on the Eastern Afromontane forest region of the South Sudan–Uganda border using multitemporal Landsat imaginery. Remote Sens Environ 118(2):10–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Grafton RQ, Knowles S (2004) Social capital and national environmental performance. Environ Dev 13(4):336–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Greif A (1993) Contract enforceability and economic institutions in early trade: the Maghribi traders’ coalition. Am Econ Rev 83(3):525–548Google Scholar
  40. Habyarimana J, Humphreys M, Posner DN, Weinstein JM (2007) Why does ethnic diversity undermine public goods provision. Am Polit Sci Rev 101(4):709–725CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Halaby CN (2004) Panel models in sociological research: theory into practice. Annu Rev Sociol 30:507–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Heston A, Summers R, Aten B (2010) Penn World Table Version 6.3. Center for International Comparisons of Production, Income and Prices, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.
  43. Hsiao C (2007) Panel data analysis—advantages and challenges. Test 16(1):1–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Hodler R (2006) The curse of natural resources in fractionalized countries. Eur Econ Rev 50(6):1367–1386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kaufmann D, Kraay A, Mastruzzi M (2007) Governance matters VI: governance indicators for 1996–2006. Policy Research Working Paper No. 4280. World Bank, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  46. Keefer P, Knack S (2002) Polarization, politics and property rights: links between inequality and growth. Public Choice 111(1–2):127–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kummu M, Varis O (2011) The world by latitudes: a global analysis of human population, development level and environment across the north-south axis over the past half century. Appl Geogr 31(1):495–507CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. La Ferrara E (2003) Kin groups and reciprocity: a model of credit transactions in Ghana. Am Econ Rev 93(5):1730–1751CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Lamla MJ (2009) Long-run determinants of pollution: a robustness analysis. Ecol Econ 69(1):135–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Larcker DF, Rusticus TO (2010) On the use of instrumental variables in accounting research. J Acc Econ 49(3):186–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Luck GW (2007) The relationships between net primary productivity, human population density and species conservation. J Biogeogr 34(2):201–212CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Miguel E (2004) Tribe or nation? Nation building and public goods in Kenya versus Tanzania. World Polit 56(3):327–362CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Miguel E, Gugerty MK (2005) Ethnic diversity, social sanctions and public goods in Kenya. J Public Econ 89(11–12):2325–2368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Montalvo JG, Reynal-Querol M (2005a) Ethnic diversity and economic development. J Dev Econ 76(2):293–323CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Montalvo JG, Reynal-Querol M (2005b) Ethnic polarization, potential conflict, and civil wars. Am Econ Rev 95(2):796–816CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Montalvo JG, Reynal-Querol M (2008) Discrete polarization with an application to the determinants of genocides. Econ J 118(533):1835–1865CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Montalvo JG, Reynal-Querol M (2010) Ethnic polarization and the duration of civil wars. Econ Govern 11(2):123–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Neumayer E (2002) Do democracies exhibit stronger international environmental commitment? A cross-country analysis. J Peace Res 39(2):139–164CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Panayotou T (1997) Demystifying the environmental Kuznets curve: turning a black box into a policy tool. Environ Dev Econ 2(4):465–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Pellegrini L, Gerlagh R (2006) Corruption, democracy and environmental performance. Environ Dev 15(3):332–354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Roberts TJ, Grimes PE (1997) Carbon intensity and economic development 1962–1991: a brief exploration of the environmental Kuznets curve. World Dev 25(2):191–198CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Shi A (2003) The impact of population pressure on global carbon dioxide emissions, 1975–1996: evidence from polled cross-country data. Ecol Econ 44(1):29–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Svensson J (1998) Investment, property rights and political instability: theory and evidence. Eur Econ Rev 42(7):1317–1342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Torras M, Boyce JK (1998) Income, inequality, and pollution: a reassessment of the environmental Kuznets curve. Ecol Econ 25(2):147–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Treisman D (2000) The causes of corruption: a cross-national study. J Public Econ 76(3):399–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Videras J, Bordoni CJ (2006) Ethnic heterogeneity and the enforcement of environmental regulation. Rev Soc Econ 64(4):539–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Vigdor J (2004) Community composition and collective action: analyzing initial mail response to the 2000 Census. Rev Econ Stat 86(1):303–312CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. World Bank (2010) World development indicators, Washington DCGoogle Scholar
  69. Ziblatt D (2008) Why some cities provide more public goods than others? A subnational comparison of the provision of public goods in German cities in 1912. Stud Comp Int Dev 43(3):273–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Environmental StudiesVrije Universiteit AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of International DevelopmentUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK

Personalised recommendations