Rulers and the Ruled: Patterned Inequality and the Onset of Mass Political Violence

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Abstract

The theory of patterned inequality between rulers and ruled provides a valuable analytic approach to the relationship between inequality and political violence. Under conditions of a bifurcated pattern of inequality, the probability of political violence is likely to be greater than under a more generalized inequality typically measured by the Gini index. A strong systematic relationship between patterned inequality in Latin American landholdings and deaths from political violence was discovered using the exponential distribution as a model for the lower portion of the land distribution and the log-exponential for the upper. This degree of association was far stronger than that found between the Gini index of land inequality in Latin America and deaths from political violence. Evidence supporting the theory was also found in an analysis of Middle Eastern landholdings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)491-509
Number of pages19
JournalAmerican Political Science Review
Volume82
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1988
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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