Differential Population Dynamics, Inequality and Political Violence in India

Erika Forsberg, Uppsala University
Gudrun Østby, University of Oslo and Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)
Monica Duffy Toft, Harvard University
Henrik Urdal, Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Previous research has suggested that there may be a link between inter-group violence and heterogeneous demographics, in particular differences in growth rates, age structure, fertility rates and migration patterns. Differential population dynamics between religious and ethnic groups may lead to fears of an altered political balance, leading to a decline in intergroup trust and an increase in the risk of political instability and violent conflict. This paper analyzes cross-regional, time-series violence data for Indian states, focusing on the extent to which differential demographic dynamics may explain these trends. In particular, we will be addressing age structure differences (‘youth bulges’) in religious sub-populations in India, differential growth rates, and migration dynamics. We further address how the effects on violence of demographic dynamics may be conditioned by systematic economic and educational horizontal (i.e. inter-group) inequalities, and by education, political participation, and unemployment. The paper will utilize census and survey data (e.g. Demographic and Health Surveys, DHS), using Østby’s novel approach to constructing horizontal inequality measures based on individual-level survey data on educational attainment and household goods.

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Presented in Session 181: Population, Conflict, and Religion