Edited by Conchita D’Ambrosio
Chapter 23: Diversity and social fractionalization: theoretical approaches
Over the last decade, the assessment and measurement of diversity has increasingly become an object of interest for economists and other social scientists. The concept of diversity can be applied to a wide variety of contexts, spanning from biodiversity and conservation policies to socioeconomic diversity. The first main section of this chapter is devoted to the conceptualization and measurement of diversity. Alternative taxonomies proposed in the existing literature are discussed and the axiomatic approach to the analysis of diversity is illustrated. The second main section of the chapter is devoted to the measurement of fractionalization, namely to the analysis of diversity when the population is partitioned according to social characteristics, such as language, religion or nationality. The most relevant fractionalization indices are presented, highlighting the links with other disciplines such as ecology, biology and sociology.
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