Journal of Economic Growth

, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp 195–222 | Cite as

Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country*

  • James D. Fearon


For their empirical evaluation, several active research programs in economics and political science require data on ethnic groups across countries. “Ethnic group,” however, is a slippery concept. After addressing conceptual and practical obstacles, I present a list of 822 ethnic groups in 160 countries that made up at least 1 percent of the country population in the early 1990s. I compare a measure of ethnic fractionalization based on this list with the most commonly used measure. I also construct an index of cultural fractionalization that uses the structural distance between languages as a proxy for the cultural distance between groups in a country.

ethnic heterogeneity cultural diversity fractionalization economic growth 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. Fearon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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