Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
PLoS One. 2007 Sep 26;2(9):e929.

Cultural diversity, economic development and societal instability.

Author information

1
Centre for Behaviour and Evolution, Newcastle University, Newcastle, United Kingdom. daniel.nettle@ncl.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Social scientists have suggested that cultural diversity in a nation leads to societal instability. However, societal instability may be affected not only by within-nation or alpha diversity, but also diversity between a nation and its neighbours or beta diversity. It is also necessary to distinguish different domains of diversity, namely linguistic, ethnic and religious, and to distinguish between the direct effects of diversity on societal instability, and effects that are mediated by economic conditions.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

We assembled a large cross-national dataset with information on alpha and beta cultural diversity, economic conditions, and indices of societal instability. Structural equation modeling was used to evaluate the direct and indirect effects of cultural diversity on economics and societal stability. Results show that different types and domains of diversity have interacting effects. As previously documented, linguistic alpha diversity has a negative effect on economic performance, and we show that it is largely through this economic mechanism that it affects societal instability. For beta diversity, the higher the linguistic diversity among nations in a region, the less stable the nation. But, religious beta diversity has the opposite effect, reducing instability, particularly in the presence of high linguistic diversity.

CONCLUSIONS:

Within-nation linguistic diversity is associated with reduced economic performance, which, in turn, increases societal instability. Nations which differ linguistically from their neighbors are also less stable. However, religious diversity between neighboring nations has the opposite effect, decreasing societal instability.

PMID:
17895970
PMCID:
PMC1978457
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0000929
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center