Regime Types and Discrimination against Ethnoreligious Minorities: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the Autocracy-Democracy Continuum

Jonathan Fox, Shmuel Sandler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although many assume that the relationship between the autocracy-democracy continuum and discrimination is linear, with autocracies discriminating the most and democracies discriminating the least, the assumption is not universal. This study uses the Minorities at Risk dataset to test this relationship with regard to government treatment of religiously differentiated ethnic minorities (ethnoreligious minorities) as well as ethnic minorities that are not religiously differentiated. The results show that the pattern of treatment of ethnoreligious minorities differs from that of other ethnic minorities. The extent to which a state is democratic has no clear influence on the level of discrimination against non-religiously differentiated ethnic minorities, but it has a clear influence on the level of discrimination against ethnoreligious minorities. Autocracies discriminate more than democracies against ethnoreligious minorities, but semi-democracies, those governments that are situated between democracies and autocracies, discriminate even less. This result is consistent on all 11 measures used here and is statistically significant for seven of them, and it remains strong when controlling for other factors, including separatism. This phenomenon increases in strength from the beginning to the end of the 1990s. Also, democracies discriminate against ethnoreligious minorities more than they do against other minorities. The nature of liberal democracy may provide an explanation for this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-489
Number of pages21
JournalPolitical Studies
Volume51
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2003

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