Ethnic Networks

Jennifer M. Larson, Janet I. Lewis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Active research on a wide range of political contexts centers on ethnicity's role in collective action. Many theories posit that information flows more easily in ethnically homogeneous areas, facilitating collective action, because social networks among coethnics are denser. Although this characterization is ubiquitous, little empirical work assesses it. Through a novel field experiment in a matched pair of villages in rural Uganda, this article directly examines word-of-mouth information spread and its relationship to ethnic diversity and networks. As expected, information spread more widely in the homogeneous village. However, unexpectedly, the more diverse village's network is significantly denser. Using unusually detailed network data, we offer an explanation for why network density may hamper information dissemination in heterogeneous areas, showing why even slight hesitation to share information with people from other groups can have large aggregate effects.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)350-364
    Number of pages15
    JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
    Volume61
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

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    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Political Science and International Relations

    Cite this

    Larson, J. M., & Lewis, J. I. (2017). Ethnic Networks. American Journal of Political Science, 61(2), 350-364. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajps.12282