Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 437–454 | Cite as

National identity and ethnic diversity

  • Paolo Masella
Original Paper


In countries with high levels of ethnic diversity, “nation building” has been proposed as a mechanism for integration and conflict reduction. We find no evidence of lower intensity of national sentiment in more ethnically fragmented countries or in minority groups. National feelings in a minority can be higher or lower than in a majority, depending on the degree of ethnic diversity of a country. On the one hand, in countries with high ethnic diversity, nationalist feelings are less strong in minority groups than in the majorities; on the other hand, in countries with low ethnic diversity, the reverse is true.


Identity Ethnic diversity Nation building 

JEL Classification

A14 J15 Z10 



I am especially indebted to Francesco Caselli and Maitreesh Ghatak for their support. I also thank three anonymous referees, the editor Klaus F. Zimmermann, Oriana Bandiera, Erland Berg, Tim Besley, Matteo Cervellati, Raja Khali, Eliana La Ferrara, Andrea Prat, and participants at NEUDC conference 2006, “Polarization and Conflict” conference 2006 and seminars at LSE. All errors are mine. I also gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through the Collaborative Research Center 884.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Economics Department and SFB 884University of MannheimMannheimGermany

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