AbstractsPolitical Science

Does Cultural Heterogeneity Lead to Lower Levels of Regime Respect for Basic Human Rights?

by Scott Walker

Institution: University of North Texas
Year: 2002
Keywords: Human rights.; Ethnic relations  – Political aspects.; Minorities.; Human rights; comparative politics; international relations; diversity
Record ID: 1724083
Full text PDF: http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc3303/


This dissertation is a cross-national investigation of the relationship between cultural heterogeneity and regimes' respect for basic human rights. The quantitative human rights literature has not yet addressed the question of whether high levels of cultural diversity are beneficial or harmful. My research addresses this gap. I address the debate between those who argue that diversity is negatively related to basic human rights protection and those who argue it is likely to improve respect for these rights. Ultimately, I propose that regimes in diverse countries will be less likely to provide an adequate level of subsistence (otherwise known as basic human needs) and security rights (also known as integrity of the person rights) to their citizens than regimes in more homogeneous countries. Using a data set of 106 non-OECD countries for the years 1983 and 1993, I employ bivariate, linear multivariate regression, and causal modeling techniques to test whether higher levels of ethnolinguistic and religious diversity are associated with less regime respect for subsistence and security rights. The analysis reveals that higher levels of cultural diversity do appear to lead to lower respect for subsistence rights. However, counter to the hypothesized relationship, high levels of diversity appear to be compatible with high levels of respect for security rights.