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The Diverse Effects of Diversity on Democracy

  • John Gerring, Michael Hoffman and Dominic Zarecki

Diverse identities coexisting within the same society are often viewed as problematic for economic and political development. This article argues that different types of social diversity have differential effects on regime type. Specifically, ethno-linguistic diversity increases prospects for democracy while religious diversity decreases prospects for democracy. The article presents a variety of reasons why diversity might have divergent causal effects on regime type. Cross-national regressions in a variety of econometric formats – including instrumental variables – provide corroborating evidence for the argument.

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Boston University, Department of Political Science (email:; Princeton University, Department of Politics (email:; Boston University, Department of Political Science (email: Data replication sets and online appendices are available at

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