Networks and interethnic cooperation

Jennifer M. Larson

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


    Ethnic groups are thought to be particularly good at enforcing cooperative behavior, in part because social networks among coethnics are favorable to peer sanctioning schemes, resulting in observed outcomes like higher public goods provision in ethnically homogeneous areas and infrequent interethnic conflict. This article formalizes this process, accounting for networks that spread news relevant to sanctioning from peer to peer. It shows that impediments to intra- and interethnic cooperation arise from positions in the network that are too peripheral or too controlling: contrary to conventional wisdom, the definitive feature of networks is not density but "integration." Some groups can only support a low volume of civil interethnic interactions due to intra-ethnic networks that are poorly integrated. These results help explain variance across homogeneous areas, identify a barrier to cooperation in heterogeneous areas, generate empirical predictions, reveal sources of improvement masked by nonnetwork models, and offer guidance for future network elicitation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)546-559
    Number of pages14
    JournalJournal of Politics
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Apr 2017

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science


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