Intergroup Cohesion

Intergroup cohesion refers to relations of cooperation and respect between identity groups in a society. Where this cooperation breaks down, there is the potential for conflictual acts such as ethnically or religiously motivated killing, targeted assassination and kidnapping, acts of terror such as public bombings or shootings, or riots involving grievous bodily harm to citizens, with concomitant effects upon growth and development.

How different groups based on identity live together has continued to be one of societies’ main questions. All countries are marked by diversity, and in many cases there are socio-economic inequalities between groups based on identity rather than economic differences. While most of the time most groups live in harmonious relationships, distrust and hostility can exist, or emerge, often as a result of political mobilisation. 

Social cohesion and conflict operate below the level of formal state institutions – albeit in implicit relationship to long-term political objectives and grievances – and can involve a diverse range of actors such as organised criminal groups, international terrorist networks, and ethnic or religious supremacist movements, as well as a diverse range of targets, including judges, public intellectuals, and ordinary citizens.

We measure intergroup cohesion using data on inter-group disparities, perceptions of being discriminated against, and feelings of distrust against members of other groups. ISD also use data on the number of reported incidents of riots, terrorist acts, assassinations, and kidnappings; agency ratings on the likelihood of civil disorder, terrorism and social instability; and reported levels of engagement in violent riots, strikes, and confrontations.

Data used in the 2020 index:

IndicatorVariable nameSourceCountries
Do you have confidence in the local police force, feel safe walking alone at night, had money or property stolen or have you been assaulted or mugged?law_and_orderWorld Happiness Report-Gallup134
Rating of differences of opinion on major political issues in this societysoc polarizationVarieties of Democracy Database (V-Dem)177
Log riots per log capitariotsCross-National Time-Series Data Archive132
Log instances of guerrilla conflict per log capitalog guerrillas per log capitaCross-National Time-Series Data Archive56
Terrorist coded attacks based on a weighted average of the last four years (2016-2019) of 9 typesterrorist_attack_aveGlobal Terrorism Database (GTD)138
Global Peace Index rating on deaths in organized conflict at least 25deaths_in_conflict_ratingUppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP)38
Fund for Peace rating on the “legacy of vengeance-seeking group grievance or group paranoia”vengeance_ratingFund for Peace/Fragile States Index178
Average values of all indicators of the International Country Risk Guidepolitical_riskInternational Country Risk Guide138
Level of internal conflict, International Country Risk Guide ratinginternal_conflict_ratingInternational Country Risk Guide140
Risk of terrorism, International Country Risk Guide ratingterrorism risk ratingIEP Global Terrorism Index134