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Does Multiculturalism Promote Income Inequality?

Gerhard Meisenberg


Published: 2007/06/01


In many countries of the world the extent of ethnic, cultural and racial diversity is increasing as a result of international migration. One frequently voiced concern is that as populations become more diverse, socioeconomic inequalities within countries will become greater. The present study presents new measures of ethnic, racial and religious diversity for 198 countries and territories. These measures were used as predictors of the Gini index in regression models with other predictors. Ethnic and religious diversity were found to be virtually unrelated to the Gini index. However, a high level of racial diversity independently predicts a high Gini index. The effect of racial diversity is robust and persists when controls for spatial and cultural autocorrelation are introduced.

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