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Back | Programme Area: Governance (2000 - 2009)

Conference News: Ethnic Inequalities and Public Sector Governance

The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) initiated a project in 2002 to examine the complex ways ethnic diversity affects the constitution and management of the public sectors of multiethnic societies under formal democratic rule. Researchers analysed the structure of ethnic cleavages, including variations within each group; collected empirical data on four public institutions—civil service, cabinet, parliament and party system; examined the rules that determine selection to these institutions; analysed whether the distribution of offices is ethnically balanced or uneven; and studied voter preferences in constituting these institutions. They also looked at the effectiveness of institutions and policy reforms for managing diversity and inequality. The research employed a typology that classifies countries according to their level of ethnic polarization: those in which one ethnicity is overwhelmingly dominant; those with two or three main groups; and those in which the ethnic structure is fragmented. Fifteen countries were studied: Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Botswana, Ghana, Fiji, India, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
The findings of this research were discussed in an international conference organized in Riga, Latvia, from 25 to 27 March 2004 by UNRISD, the Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Latvia and the Latvian Ministry for Social Integration.
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  • Pub. Date: 1 Jan 2006
    ISSN: 1020-8054
    From: UNRISD