R Programming

we will explore some descriptive questions about ethnicity and conflict, using data

from Bosnia-Herzegovina, drawn from Weidmann, Nils B. 2011. “Violence ‘from Above’ or ‘from

Below’? The Role of Ethnicity in Bosnia’s Civil War”, Journal of Politics 73(4): 1178-1190.

We have two versions of this dataset:

The first version of the dataset is a simple text file called “[login to view URL]”, where the fields are separated

by tabulators.

The second version of the data comes in three different files, [login to view URL]”, “[login to view URL]”, and

“[login to view URL]”. These data include information on the geographical shapes and positions of the different

districts in Bosnia, in addition to the variables. This format is called a shapefile, and is a common format

for GIS software such as ArcGIS. We will use this version to create maps of the Bosnia data later.

You can find these files on Moodle.

The data include observations for 109 Bosnian municipalities. The variables in the data are listed below:

SP_ID Spatial polygon ID

MUNID Municipality ID code

name Name

TOTINCOME Income of municipality in 1991

TOTPOP91 Population of municipality in 1991

roadlength Length of roads in district

area Area of municpality

distserbia Distance from Serbia

distcroati Distance from Croatia

KILLED Number of people killed in war

MISSING Number of people reported missing

pol_local Residential polarization index

urban91 Urbanization

strat91 Territorial contestation index

roaddensity Road density

[login to view URL] log10 distance to Serbia

[login to view URL] log10 distance to Croatia

borderdist distance to border

BORDER Border municipality

MOSLEMS91 Muslim population in 1991

SERBS91 Serb population in 1991

CROATS91 Croat population in 1991

MOSLEMS01 Muslim population in 2001

SERBS01 Serb population in 2001

CROATS01 Croat population in 2001

(1) Using the Bosnia 1991 population shares at the municipality level, compute a measure of ethnic

fractionalization for each municipality according to the # ELF formula: ELF = 1-sum_i(s_i^2), where

sum_i is the sum over all groups, and s_i is the share of the respective group. Save your result in a new

variable called ELF91. Draw a histogram of the distribution, and comment on what this tells us about the

pre-war ethnic population distribution.

(2) Now find the ELF for municipalities in 2001 using the appropriate population figures in the dataset.

Present and discuss the changes in ethnic fractionalization between 1991 and 2001. How has the overall

distribution changed overall for the countries, and what districts have changed the most?

(3) Are the population changes related to conflict experience?

(Hint: one way to do this is to create a plot of change in ELF by death rates, and use linear regression to

estimate the “average” impact of the death rate on changes in ELF. Lab 4 provides some examples).

(4) Examine the variation in the death rate (i.e., casualties per capita) across municipalities, using linear

regression and two measures developed by Weidmann (2011), “residential polarization” and “territorial

contestation”, controlling for per capita income. Comment on the results.

You will need to create a per capita income measure yourself, dividing income by population. To facilitate

interpretation, here is how the two ethic geography measures were created. See the cited articles for more

detailed discussions.

Skills: Data Mining, Data Science, R Programming Language, Statistical Analysis

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