Civil violence

Civil violence, often representing ethnic, religious or racial conflict has been rising through the past half-century (Gleditsch et al. 2002), but we still have only a limited understanding of its causes. While there is considerable evidence that the outbreak of civil conflict results from poverty (e.g. Miguel et al. 2004; Bohlken and Sergenti 2010; Do and Iyer, 2010), the evidence on other potential causes including the importance of social divisions and political grievances is more controversial (Blattman and Miguel, 2010: p.45). This paper examines Hindu-Muslim violence in India. Muslims constitute India’s largest religious minority, and the observed patterns of Hindu-Muslim violence suggest that Muslims are more likely to have been the victims of such violence (Mitra and Ray, 2010). Since Muslims are also underrepresented in elected office (constituting only 5% of members in the national legislature in 2009, down from nearly 9% in 1980), we investigate whether increasing Muslim political representation lowers the incidence of religious conflict

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