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Ethnic Inequality

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Abstract

This study explores the consequences and origins of contemporary differences in well-being across ethnic groups within countries. We construct measures of ethnic inequality combining ethnolinguistic maps on the spatial distribution of groups with satellite images of light density at night. Ethnic inequality is strongly inversely related to per capita income; this pattern holds when we condition on the overall degree of spatial inequality -that is also associated with underdevelopment. We further show that differences in geographic endowments across ethnic homelands explain a sizable portion of contemporary ethnic inequality. This deeplyrooted inequality in geographic attributes across ethnic regions is also negatively related to comparative development. We also show that ethnic inequality goes in tandem with lower levels development also within countries. Using micro-level data from the Afrobarometer surveys we show that individuals from the same ethnic group are worse off when they reside in districts with a high degree of ethnic inequality.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-14.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2012-14

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Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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Keywords: Ethnicity; Diversity; Inequality; Development; Geography;

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  1. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0762, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  2. Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. " States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-69, December.
  3. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2012. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," NBER Working Papers 18275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2009. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," Carlo Alberto Notebooks, Collegio Carlo Alberto 110, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  5. Vernon Henderson & Adam Storeygard & David N. Weil, 2009. "Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space," Working Papers, Brown University, Department of Economics 2009-8, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0756, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. Raphaёl Franck & Ilia Rainer, 2012. "Does the Leader’s Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics 2012-06, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  8. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Romain Wacziarg, 2011. "The Political Economy of Linguistic Cleavages," Vives discussion paper series, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen, Vives 20, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen, Vives.
  9. Ashwini Deshpande, 2000. "Does Caste Still Define Disparity? A Look at Inequality in Kerala, India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 322-325, May.
  10. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  11. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Burgess, Robin & Jedwab, Remi & Miguel, Edward & Morjaria, Ameet & Padró i Miquel, Gerard, 2013. "The Value of Democracy: Evidence from Road Building in Kenya," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 9627, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Massimo Morelli & Dominic Rohner, 2014. "Resource Concentration and Civil Wars," NBER Working Papers 20129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Casey, Gregory P. & Owen, Ann L., 2014. "Inequality and Fractionalization," World Development, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 32-50.
  4. Fenske, James, 2012. "African polygamy: Past and present," MPRA Paper 41618, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Pinkovskiy, Maxim L. & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier X., 2014. "Lights, camera,...income! Estimating poverty using national accounts, survey means, and lights," Staff Reports, Federal Reserve Bank of New York 669, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
  6. Alesina, Alberto & Harnoss, Johann & Rapoport, Hillel, 2013. "Birthplace Diversity and Economic Prosperity," IZA Discussion Papers 7568, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Nilufar Matin & Mohammad Shahidul Islam & Musingo T. E. Mbuvi & Bernard Owuor Odit & Paul Othim Ongugo & Mohammad Abu Syed, 2014. "Group Inequality and Environmental Sustainability: Insights from Bangladesh and Kenyan Forest Commons," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(3), pages 1462-1488, March.

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