Conflict and Distribution

Joan Esteban, Debraj Ray

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We develop a behavioral model that links the level and pattern of social conflict to the societywide distribution of individual characteristics. The model can be applied to groups that differ in characteristics such as wealth, ethnicity, religion, and political ideology. We settle questions of existence and uniqueness of conflict equilibrium. Conflict is seen to be closely connected with the bimodality of the underlying distribution of characteristics. However, in general, the conflict-distribution relationship is nonlinear and surprisingly complex. Our results on conflict patterns also throw light on the phenomena of extremism and moderation. Journal of Economic Literature Classification Numbers: D63, D72, D74.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)379-415
    Number of pages37
    JournalJournal of Economic Theory
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Aug 1999


    • Conflict
    • Inequality
    • Polarization
    • Rent-seeking

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics


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