We study the effect of large-scale land acquisitions on the risk of ethnic tensions for a sample of 133 countries for the 2000-2012 period. Running a series of fractional response models, we find that more land grabbing activity is associated with a higher risk of ethnic tensions, indicating that the negative effects of land deals outweigh their potential benefits. In addition to that, we also show that democratic institutions may moderate the relationship between land deals and ethnic tensions. That is, non-democratic countries face a substantially higher risk of ethnic tensions as the level of large-scale land acquisitions increases; by contrast, strongly democratic countries tend to see lower ethnic tension risk.
large-scale land acquisitions land grabbing conflict ethnic tensions democratic accountability weak institutions