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Introduction and Summary
Many political studies on civil war have focused on the role that institutions play in ethnically divided societies. While ‘constitutional engineers’ have claimed that certain rules and institutional arrangements, like proportional representation or decentralization, help divided societies to maintain peace (Lijphart 1977, 1999; Fearon/Laitin 2003; Reynal-Querol 2005), political sociologists have argued that they only reflect the cleavage lines within such societies (Lipset/Rokkan 1967; Collier/Hoeffler 2004). However, most of the researchers’ results are neither robust nor replicable across studies (Hegre/Sambanis 2006).
Examining this contradictory role of political institutions, Schneider/Wiesehomeier (2008: 184) state that, in general, institutions help to reduce conflict, but that this positive effect might be weakened by certain forms of ethnic diversity, namely by polarization, fractionalization, and dominance. They find that the impact of the three diversity indicators on the outbreak of civil war varies across different types of political regimes …