James Madison continues to be underrated

d) While ethnic and linguistic fractionalization are associated with negative outcomes in terms of quality of government, religious fractionalization is not; in fact, if anything, this measure displays a positive correlation with measures of good governance. This is because measured religious fractionalization tends to be higher in more tolerant and free societies, like the United States, which in fact displays one the of the highest level of religious fractionalization. This result has no bearing, however, on the question of whether certain religious denominations are correlated with better politico-economic outcomes, an issue recently explored by Barro and McLeary (2002).

Woah. Here’s more:

Whether societal conflict is the result of fractionalization or polarization is largely an unresolved question in theory, calling for empirical work. The discussion of whether a country with many relatively small groups is more or less stable than one with only two equally sized groups is an old one, and goes back at least to Madison in the Federalist Papers of 1788 (nos. 10 and 11 see Hamilton et al., 1911). Without much of a stretch of Madison’s views, one can argue that a polarization measure is, according to him, the appropriate concept to capture heterogeneity.

Read the whole thing here (pdf).

3 thoughts on “James Madison continues to be underrated

  1. “Without much of a stretch of Madison’s views, one can argue that a polarization measure is, according to him, the appropriate concept to capture heterogeneity.:

    Sounds circular to me. What if polarization is the result of other than heterogeneity, or partly so? What if heterogeneity -in some but not all cases – does not produce polarization? And then, there is Switzerland….

    • Yeah, good point, but I think there is heterogeneity and then there is heterogeneity. The paper is discussing, mostly, African and Asian states that are now 50-ish years old and complete failures. Switzerland is technically heterogenous, but it’s not really heterogenous. A Swissman who speaks Italian is still a Swissman. A Yoruba or a Hausa might be a Nigerian, but they’re definitely not a Igbo.

  2. Sounds right. I just though I saw an illogical generalization lurking in the bushes. A Germanophone Swiss
    who also knows Italian is as Swiss as one who does not. A Igbo who know Hausa …. (Please, complete.)

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