Matthias Basedau

Managing Ethnic Conflict: The Menu of Institutional Engineering

GIGA Working Paper, No. 171, June 2011

Abstract
The debate on institutional engineering offers options to manage ethnic and other conflicts. This contribution systematically assesses the logic of these institutional designs and the empirical evidence on their functioning. Generally, institutions can work on ethnic conflict by either accommodating ("consociationalists") or denying ("integrationists") ethnicity in politics. Looking at individual and combined institutions (e.g. state structure, electoral system, forms of government), the literature review finds that most designs are theoretically ambivalent and that empirical evidence on their effectiveness is mostly inconclusive. The following questions remain open: a) Is politicized ethnicity really a conflict risk? b) What impact does the whole "menu" (not just single institutions) have? and c) How are effects conditioned by the exact nature of conflict risks?

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Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau

Director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs
Editor GIGA Focus Africa

Prof. Dr. Matthias Basedau is director of the GIGA Institute for African Affairs and professor of political science at the University of Hamburg. His research focuses on political institutions and armed conflicts, as well as how both are linked to ethnicity, religion, and natural resources. He is also the regional coordinator for Central and West Africa within the framework of the Bertelsmann Transformation Index.

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Party Systems in Africa

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in: Metis (ed.), Metis-Perspektiven: Afrika – der aufsteigende Kontinent, Berlin und München: Metis, 2019, 6-10