Econometrica: Sep 2020, Volume 88, Issue 5

Segmentary Lineage Organization and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

https://doi.org/10.3982/ECTA16327
p. 1999-2036

Jacob Moscona, Nathan Nunn, James A. Robinson

We test the longstanding hypothesis that ethnic groups organized around “segmentary lineages” are more prone to conflict. Ethnographic accounts suggest that in such societies, which are characterized by strong allegiances to distant relatives, individuals are obligated to come to the aid of fellow lineage members when they become involved in conflicts. As a consequence, small disagreements often escalate into larger‐scale conflicts involving many individuals. We test for a link between segmentary lineage organization and conflict across ethnic groups in sub‐Saharan Africa. Using a number of estimation strategies, including a regression discontinuity design at ethnic boundaries, we find that segmentary lineage societies experience more conflicts, and particularly ones that are retaliatory, long in duration, and large in scale.



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Supplement to "Segmentary Lineage Organization and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa"

This appendix of ‘supplementary material’ reports additional tables and figures referenced in the body of the paper. A separate webpage appendix includes details of all variables used in the analysis, in particular our coding of the segmentary linage indicator variable. It also includes summary statistics of all variables (Appendix Tables B.II and B.III).

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Supplement to "Segmentary Lineage Organization and Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa"

This zip file contains the replication files for the manuscript.

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