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“The Causes of Racial Disturbances: Test of an Explanation.”

Background on Hindu-Muslim Violence in India As already noted, Hindu-Muslim violence in India extends back to the pre-partition era. It reached a peak during the partition and then settled down to sporadic episodes with regular frequency, all the way up to the present day. Many thousands have died from it, not counting the loss of livelihoods or property. There is reason to believe that economic factors play a role in this violence, just as they do in religious or ethnic violence elsewhere.7 For instance, Upadhyaya ð1992Þ documents the targeting of Muslim sari dealers in the 1991 Varanasi riots. They were clearly viewed as business rivals. A similar targeting of Muslim cloth manufacturers is seen in 5 Bazzi and Blattman ð2013Þ make a similar point using commodity price shocks. 6 See also the “split labor” market theory of Bonacich ð1972Þ, which argues that labor from clearly demarcated groups of weaker economic strength, such as immigrants, is often used to wear down organized labor, leading to intergroup violence. 7 See, e.g., Bohr and Crisp ð1996Þ on Kyrgyzstan, Andre´ and Platteau ð1998Þ on Rwanda, Horowitz ð2001Þ on the Ivory Coast and other regions, or Mamdani ð2010Þ on Darfur. economic theory of conflict 723 This content downloaded from on Tue, 9 Sep 2014 10:18:07 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions the case of the 1984 Bhiwandi riots; see Rajgopal ð1987Þ and Khan ð1992Þ: “The 1984 riots were largely the outcome of business rivalry, though the immediate provocation was provided by the Shivaji Jayanthi procession. The well-entrenched and the newly emerging traders came to perceive competition between them in trade along religious lines. When the competition happens to be between merchants belonging to two religious groups, communal motives are imputed for the success or the failure of the different groups”