Skip to main content

Power and Pride: National Identity and Ethnopolitical Inequality around the World

  • Andreas Wimmer

Why do some individuals embrace nationalist rhetoric and feel proud of their citizen ship while others do not? This article introduces an exchange-theoretic perspective, according to which national pride depends on access to political power. Seen from this perspective, members of ethnic groups that are not represented in national-level government should be less proud of their nation than those included in the polity. Furthermore, ethnic violence in the past or power-sharing arrangements in the present should reduce trust in the future stability of political representation and thus pride in the nation. From a dynamic point of view, members of ethnic groups whose level of political representation decreased in the past should also see their nation in a less positive light today. To show this, the author uses existing surveys to assemble a new dataset with answers to a similar question about national pride. It covers 123 countries that comprise 92 percent of the world's population. For roughly half of these countries, the ethnic groups listed in the surveys could also be found in another data set that contains information on the political status of these groups. Multilevel ordered logistic regressions at both the country and the group level confirm these hypotheses while taking into account a wide range of individual-level and country-level variables discussed in the existing literature.

Hide All
Ahlerup, Pelle, and Hansson, Gustav. 2011. “Nationalism and Government Effectiveness.Journal of Comparative Economics 39, no. 3: 431–51. doi: 10.1016/j.jce.2011.05.001.
Alesina, Alberto, Devleeschauwer, Arnaud, Easterley, William, Kurlat, Sergio, and Wacziarg, Romain. 2003. “Fractionalization.Journal of Economic Growth 8, no. 2: 155194. doi: 10.1023/A:1024471506938.
Ali, Merima, Fjeldstad, Odd-Helge, Jiang, Boqian, and Shifa, Abdulaziz B.. 2015. Colonial Legacy, State-Building and the Salience of Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Bergen, Norway: Chr. Michelsen Institute.
Anderson, Benedict. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London, UK: Verso.
Ariely, Gal. 2012. “Globalisation and the Decline of National Identity? An Exploration across Sixty-Three Countries.Nations and Nationalism 18, no. 3: 461–82. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8129.2011.00532.x.
Bacikowski, Robert S. 1981. “Statistical Power with Group Mean as the Unit of Analysis.Journal of Educational Statistics 6, no. 3: 267–85. doi: 10.2307/1164877.
Back, Les. 1996. New Ethnicities and Urban Culture: Racism and Multiculture in Young Lives. Oxfordshire, UK: Routledge.
Bekhuis, Hidde, Lubbers, Marcel, and Verkuyten, Maykel. 2014. “How Education Moderates the Relation between Globalization and Nationalist Attitudes.International Journal of Public Opinion Research 26, no. 4: 487500. doi: 10.1093/ijpor/edt037.
Bendix, Reinhard. 1964. Nation-Building and Citizenship: Studies in Our Changing Social Order. New York, N.Y.: John Wiley.
Blau, Peter M. 1986. Exchange and Power in Social Life, rev. ed. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers.
Bollen, Kenneth, and Medrano, Juan Diez. 1998. “Who Are Spaniards? Nationalism and Identification in Spain.Social Forces 77, no. 2: 587621. doi: 10.2307/3005540.
Broockman, David E. 2013. “Black Politicians Are More Intrinsically Motivated to Advance Blacks’ Interests: A Field Experiment with Manipulating Political Incentives.American Journal of Political Science 57, no. 3: 521–36. doi: 10.1111/ajps.12018.
Brubaker, Rogers. 1996. Nationalism Reframed: Nationhood and the National Question in the New Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Brubaker, Rogers. 1999. “The Manichean Myth: Rethinking the Distinction between ‘Civic’ and ‘Ethnic’ Nationalism.” In Kriesi, Hans-Peter, Armingeon, Klaus, Siegrist, Hannes, and Wimmer, Andreas, eds., Nation and National Identity: The European Experience in Perspective. Chur, Switzerland: Rüegger.
Burgess, Robin, Jedwab, Remi, Miguel, Edward, Morjaria, Ameet, and Miquel, Gerard Padro i. 2015. “The Value of Democracy: Evidence from Road Building in Kenya.American Economic Review 105, no. 6: 1817–51. doi: 10.1257/aer.20131031.
Carlson, Elizabeth. 2015. “Ethnic Voting and Accountability in Africa: A Choice Experiment in Uganda.World Politics 67, no. 2 (April): 353–85. doi: 10.1017/S0043887115000015.
Coenders, Marcel, Gijsberts, Mérove, and Scheepers, Peer. 2004. “Chauvinism and Patriotism in 22 Countries.” In Gijsberts, Mérove, Hagendoom, Louk, Scheepers, Peer, eds., Nationalism and Exclusion of Migrants: Cross-National Comparisons. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate: 2669.
Congleton, Roger D. 1995. “Ethnic Clubs, Ethnic Conflict, and the Rise of Ethnic Nationalism.” In Breton, Albert et al., eds., Nationalism and Rationality. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press: 7197.
Davidov, Eldad. 2009. “Measurement Equivalence of Nationalism and Constructive Patriotism in the ISP: 34 Countries in a Comparative Perspective.Political Analysis 17, no. 1: 6482. doi: 10.1093/pan/mpn014.
de Luca, Giacomo, Hodler, Roland, Raschky, Paul A., and Valsecchi, Michele. 2015. “Ethnic Favoritism: An Axiom of Politics?” Working Paper no. 5209. Munich, Germany: Center for Economic Studies & Ifo Institute.
Deutsch, Karl W. 1953. Nationalism and Social Communication: An Inquiry into the Foundations of Nationality. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Elkins, Zachary, and Sides, John. 2007. “Can Institutions Build Unity in Multi- Ethnic States?American Political Science Review 101, no. 4: 693708. doi: 10.1017/S0003055407070505.
Franck, Raphaël, and Rainer, Ilia. 2012. “Does the Leader's Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa.American Political Science Review 106, no. 2: 294325. doi: 10.1017/S0003055412000172.
Gellner, Ernest. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press.
Gelman, Andrew, and Hill, Jennifer. 2006. Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Goldstein, Harvey. 2003. Multilevel Statistical Models. London, UK: Edward Arnold.
Grødeland, Ase B., Miller, William L., and Koshechkina, Tatyana Y.. 2000. “The Ethnic Dimension to Bureaucratic Encounters in Postcommunist Europe: Perceptions and Experience.Nations and Nationalism 6, no. 1: 4366. doi: 10.1111/j.1354-5078.2000.00043.x.
Habyarimana, James, Humphreys, Macartan, Posner, Daniel N., and Weinstein, Jeremy M.. 2007. “Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision?American Political Science Review 101, no. 4: 709–25. doi: 10.1017/S0003055407070499.
Hechter, Michael, and Levi, Margaret. 1979. “The Comparative Analysis of Ethnoregional Movements.Ethnic and Racial Studies 2, no. 3: 260–74. doi: 10.1080/01419870.1979.9993268.
Hroch, Miroslav. 2000. Social Preconditions of National Revival in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of the Social Composition of Patriotic Groups Among the Smaller European Nations. Trans. Fowkes, Ben. New York, N.Y.: Columbia University Press.
Jablonski, Ryan S. 2014. “How Aid Targets Votes: The Impact of Electoral Incentives on Foreign Aid DistributionWorld Politics 66, no. 2 (April): 293330. doi: 10.1017/S0043887114000045.
Kaufmann, Chaim. 1996. “Possible and Impossible Solutions to Ethnic Civil Wars.International Security 20, no. 4: 136–75. doi: 10.1162/isec.20.4.136.
Kiser, Edgar, and Linton, April. 2001. “Determinants of the Growth of the State: War and Taxation in Early Modern France and England.Social Forces 80, no. 2: 411–48. doi: 10.1353/sof.2001.0099.
Knack, Stephen, and Keefer, Philip. 1997. “Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation.Quarterly Journal of Economics 112, no. 4: 1251–88. doi: 10.1162/003355300555475.
Kohn, Hans. 1944. The Idea of Nationalism: A Study of Its Origins and Background. New York, N.Y.: Collier.
Konrad, Kai A., and Qari, Salmai. 2012. “The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel? Patriotism and Tax Compliance.Economica 79, no. 315: 516–33. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0335.2011.00900.x.
Kroneberg, Clemens, and Wimmer, Andreas. 2012. “Struggling over the Boundries of Belonging: A Formal Model of Nation-Building, Ethnic Closure, and Populism.American Journal of Sociology 118, no. 1: 176230. doi: 10.1086/666671.
Kunovich, Robert M. 2009. “The Sources and Consequences of National Identification.American Sociological Review 74, no. 4: 573–93. doi: 10.1177/000312240907400404.
Kurzban, Robert, Tooby, John, and Cosmides, Leda. 2001. “Can Race Be Erased? Coalitional Computation and Social Categorization.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98, no. 26: 15387–392. doi: 10.1073/pnas.251541498.
Lemarchand, René. 1972. “Political Clientelism and Ethnicity in Tropical Africa: Competing Solidarities in Nation-Building.American Political Science Review 66, no. 1: 6890. doi: 10.2307/1959279.
Levi, Margaret. 1989. Of Rule and Revenue. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.
Masella, Paolo. 2013. “National Identity and Ethnic Diversity.Journal of Population Economics 26, no. 437–54. doi: 10.1007/s00148-011-0398-0.
Mayda, Anna Maria, and Rodrik, Dani. 2005. “Why Are Some People (and Countries) More Protectionist than Others?European Economic Review 49, no. 6: 13931430. doi: 10.1016/j.euroecorev.2004.01.002.
McAdam, Doug. 1988. Freedom Summer. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
McClendon, Gwyneth H. 2016. “Race and Responsiveness: An Experiment with South African Politicians.Journal of Experimental Political Science 3, no. 1: 6074. doi: 10.1017/XPS.2015.10.
Midgal, Joel S. 2001. State in Society: Studying How States and Societies Transform and Constitute One Another. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Miguel, Edward. 2004. “Tribe or Nation? Nation Building and Public Goods in Kenya versus Tanzania.World Politics 56, no. 3 (April): 327–62. doi: 10.1017/S0043887100004330.
Müller-Peters, Anke. 1998. “The Significance of National Pride and National Identity to the Attitude toward the Single European Currency: A Europe-Wide Comparison.Journal of Economic Psychology 19, no. 6: 701–19. doi: 10.1016/S0167-4870(98)00033-6.
Mummendey, Amelie, Kessler, Thomas, Klink, Andreas, and Mielke, Rosemarie. 1999. “Strategies to Cope with Negative Social Identity: Predictions by Social Identity Theory and Relative Deprivation Theory.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 76, no. 2: 229–45. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.76.2.229.
Nathan, Noah L. 2016. “Local Ethnic Geography, Expectations of Favoritism, and Voting in Urban Ghana.Comparative Political Studies 49, no. 14: 18961929. doi: 10.1177/0010414016655540.
Nye, John V. C., Rainer, Ilia, and Stratmann, Thomas. 2014. “Do Black Mayors Improve Black Relative to White Employment Outcomes? Evidence from Large US Cities.Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization 31, no. 2: 383430. doi: 10.1093/jleo/ewu008.
Pratto, Felicia, Sidanius, Jim, and Levin, Shana. 2006. “Social Dominance Theory and the Dynamics of Intergroup Relations: Taking Stock and Looking Forward.European Review of Social Psychology 17, no. 1: 271320. doi: 10.1080/10463280601055772.
Qari, Salmai, Konrad, Kai A., and Geys, Benny. 2012. “Patriotism, Taxation and International Mobility.Public Choice 151, no. 3–4: 695717. doi: 10.1007/s11127-011-9765-3.
Robinson, Amanda Lea. 2014. “National versus Ethnic Identification in Africa: Modernization, Colonial Legacy, and the Origins of Territorial Nationalism.World Politics 66, no. 4 (October): 709–46. doi: 10.1017/S0043887114000239.
Roeder, Philip G. 2005. “Power Dividing as an Alternative to Ethnic Power Sharing.” In Roeder, Philip G. and Rothchild, Donald, eds., Sustainable Peace: Power and Democracy after Civil War. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press: 5182.
Sambanis, Nicholas, and Shayo, Moses. 2013. “Social Identification and Ethnic Conflict.American Political Science Review 107, no. 2: 294325. doi: 10.1017/S0003055413000038.
Shayo, Moses. 2009. “A Model of Social Identity with an Application to Political Economy: Nation, Class and Redistribution.American Political Science Review 103, no. 2: 147–74. doi: 10.1017/S0003055409090194.
Sidanius, Jim, and Pratto, Felicia. 1999. Social Dominance: An Intergroup Theory of Social Hierarchy and Oppression. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, Anthony D. 1986. The Ethnic Origins of Nations. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
Smith, Anthony D. 1998. Nationalism and Modernism: A Critical Survey of Recent Theories of Nations and Nationalism. London, UK: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Smith, Tom W., and Kim, Seokho. 2006. “National Pride in Comparative Perspective: 1995/6 and 2003/4.International Journal of Public Opinion Research 18, no. 1: 127–36. doi: 10.1093/ijpor/edk007.
Staerklé, Christian, Sidanius, Jim, Green, Eva G. T., and Molina, Ludwin E.. 2010. “Ethnic Minority-Majority Asymmetry in National Attitudes around the World: A Multilevel Analysis.Political Psychology 31, no. 4: 491519. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9221.2010.00766.x.
Tajfel, Henri. 1981. Human Groups and Social Categories: Studies in Social Psychology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Tilly, Charles. 1975. “Western State-Making and Theories of Political Transformation.” In Tilly, Charles, The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press: 601–38.
Tilly, Charles. 1978. From Mobilization to Revolution. Reading, Pa.: Addison-Wesley.
Tilly, Charles. 2005. Trust and Rule. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Vu, Tuong. 2010. “Studying the State through State Formation.World Politics 62, no. 1 (January): 148–75. doi: 10.1017/S0043887109990244.
Wagner, Ulrich, Becker, Julia C., Christ, Oliver, Pettigrew, Thomas F., and Schmidt, Peter. 2012. “A Longitudinal Test of the Relation between German Nationalism, Patriotism, and Outgroup Derogation.European Sociological Review 28, no. 3: 319–32. doi: 10.1093/esr/jcq066.
Wenzel, Michael, Mummendey, Amelie, and Waldzus, Sven. 2007. “Superordinate Identities and Intergroup Conflict: The Ingroup Projection Model.European Review of Social Psychology 18, no. 1: 331–72. doi: 10.1080/10463280701728302.
Wimmer, Andreas. 2008. “The Making and Unmaking of Ethnic Boundaries: A Multilevel Process Theory.American Journal of Sociology 113, no. 4: 9701022. doi: 10.1086/522803.
Wimmer, Andreas. 2013. Waves of War: Nationalism, State-Formation, and Ethnic Exclusion in the Modern World. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Wimmer, Andreas. 2017a. “Replication material for ‘Power and Pride: National Identity and Ethnopolitical Inequality around the World.’” Harvard Dataverse, V1. doi: 10.7910/DVN/K1WVVI.
Wimmer, Andreas. 2017b. Supplementary material for “Power and Pride: National Identity and Ethnopolitical Inequality around the World.” At
Wimmer, Andreas, and Min, Brian. 2006. “From Empire to Nation-State: Explaining Wars in the Modern World, 1816–2001.American Sociological Review 71, no. 6: 867–97. doi: 10.1177/000312240607100601.
Wimmer, Andreas, Cederman, Lars-Erik, and Min, Brian. 2009. “Ethnic Politics and Armed Conflict: A Configurational Analysis of a New Global Data Set.American Sociological Review 74, no. 2: 316–37. doi: 10.1177/000312240907400208.
Wimmer, Andreas, and Feinstein, Yuval. 2010. “The Rise of the Nation-State across the World, 1816 to 2001.American Sociological Review 75, no. 5: 764–90. doi: 10.1177/0003122410382639.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

World Politics
  • ISSN: 0043-8871
  • EISSN: 1086-3338
  • URL: /core/journals/world-politics
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Wimmer supplementary material
Wimmer supplementary material 1

 PDF (681 KB)
681 KB
Supplementary materials

Wimmer supplementary material
Wimmer supplementary material 2

 Word (16 KB)
16 KB


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 14
Total number of PDF views: 831 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1832 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 23rd August 2017 - 20th June 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.