Is Ethnic Diversity Good for the Environment?

Environmental Performance Index (

Why are some nations able to successfully meet their environmental-policy goals, while others fail? A study published by Jayoti Das and Cassandra E. DiRienzo, both of Elon University, in the Journal of Environment & Development finds that countries with more ethnically diverse populations enjoy a more communicative and engaged society, which may contribute to environmental-policy success:

Using cross-country data, the major thrust of this study is to establish the existence of a nonlinear relationship between environmental performance and ethnic diversity, while controlling for factors known to affect a country’s ability JED_72ppiRGB_150pixwto meet environmental standards. Using the Environmental Performance Index developed by Columbia and Yale Universities in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, this study finds that countries with moderate levels of ethnic diversity experience the greatest environmental performance as they reap the benefits of a civically engaged society with creative, innovative, and efficient human talent pool and do not bear the negative effects of a highly fractionalized society that typically suffers from poor communication and social cohesion, among other societal ills. The policy implications are important, as policy makers need to understand how ethnic diversity affects a country’s ability to meet environmental goals such that these effects are accounted for in new environmental policies and initiatives.

Read the article in the Journal of Environment & Development, and sign up for e-alerts to be notified about new research from JED, a forum that bridges the parallelenvironmental debates among policy makers, attorneys, academics, business people, and NGO activists worldwide.

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