Indices of Social Well-Being as Tool for Analysis and Forecast of Ethnopolitical Conflicts

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-9-57-66

E. Sadovaya, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (,
A. Bardin, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (,
E. Dovbysh, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (

Acknowledgements. The research is supported by the Russian Scientific Foundation as part of the project 15-18-00021, “Regulation of Inter-Ethnic Relations and Ethno-Social Conflicts in the Modern World: the Potential of Civic Identity (Comparative Policy Analysis)” at the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Abstract. The modern world is characterized by intensification of complex ethnopolitical conflicts which are mostly irrational, rough and lead to large numbers of casualties. They are also increasingly often used as geopolitical tools; in that, they undermine both national and international stability. It is therefore one of the key tasks of modern political science – not only to improve the level of theoretical and conceptual understanding of the nature of ethnicity and ethnic conflicts, but also to detect the weak points of national politics and to develop effective policy that would prevent such conflicts from emerging. To achieve this goal, researchers need to outline key factors of a conflict and to assess the value of each of them. Indices of social well-being have been gaining popularity among researchers lately, since they are applicable for cross-country and longitudinal studies, are useful for studying different aspects of social situations, and (last, but not the least) allow to draw a simplified picture of social processes, helping the decision-makers and public to comprehend them easier. However, indices of social well-being have a number of drawbacks as well. This article covers their history, classification, and both pros and cons of their application in research and forecasting of ethnopolitical conflicts. It is concluded that none of existing indices excel at this task; however, some of them are more valuable than others. The authors underline the fact that not all ethnic tensions result in ethnopolitical full-scale conflicts, outline key conditions under which such transition is possible, and comment on the methodology applicable for prediction of this transition.

Keywords: ethnicity, ethnopolitical conflict, polarized society, indices, indicators of social well-being, forecasting of conflicts, comparative studies 


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For citation:
Sadovaya E., Bardin A., Dovbysh E. Indices of Social Well-Being as Tool for Analysis and Forecast of Ethnopolitical Conflicts. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 9, pp. 57-66.

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