Ethnic Inequality and Forced Displacement

Ethnic Inequality and Forced Displacement

Abstract

How does ethnic inequality shape victimization in conflicts? Our case study of a recent conflict in Kyrgyzstan documents how communities with large ethnic inequalities in education experienced intense displacement. We first demonstrate that local between-group inequality correlates positively with forced displacement across regions. The correlation is robust against alternative drivers of conflict such as polarization or segregation. We then decompose how local educational advantage within, between and across ethnic groups determines individual victimization. Within-group advantage makes displacement more likely among the ethnic majority. Between-group disadvantage spurs displacement of members of the ethnic minority.