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The Impact of Ethnic Diversity in Bureaucracies: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service

Author

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  • Imran Rasul
  • Daniel Rogger

Abstract

We document the correlation between the workplace diversity in bureaucratic organizations and public service delivery. We do so in the context of Nigeria, where ethnicity is a salient form of self-identity. We thus expand the empirical management literature highlighting beneficial effects of workplace diversity, that has focused on private sector firms operating in high-income settings. Our analysis combines two data sources: (i) a survey to over 4,000 bureaucrats eliciting their ethnic identities; (ii) independent engineering assessments of completion rates for 4,700 public sector projects. The ethnic diversity of bureaucracies matters positively: a one standard deviation increase in the ethnic diversity of bureaucrats corresponds to 9 percent higher completion rates. In line with the management literature from private sector firms in high-income countries, this evidence highlights a potentially positive side of ethnic diversity in public sector organizations, in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Imran Rasul & Daniel Rogger, 2015. "The Impact of Ethnic Diversity in Bureaucracies: Evidence from the Nigerian Civil Service," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(5), pages 457-461, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:5:p:457-61
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.p20151003
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Resnick, Danielle & Okumo, Austen, 2017. "Subnational Variation in Policy Implementation: The Case of Nigerian Land Governance Reform," FSP Research Papers 265412, Michigan State University, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security (FSP).
    2. repec:eee:deveco:v:133:y:2018:i:c:p:84-101 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Olofinbiyi, Tolulope & Mogues, Tewodaj, 2017. "Who Influences Government Spending in Agriculture? The Roles of Public Actors in Subnational Funding Allocation in Nigeria," FSP Research Papers 259572, Michigan State University, Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security (FSP).
    4. Catherine Buffington & Lucia Foster & Ron Jarmin & Scott Ohlmacher, 2016. "The Management and Organizational Practices Survey (MOPS): An Overview," Working Papers 16-28, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    5. Arun Advani & Bryony Reich, 2015. "Melting pot or salad bowl: the formation of heterogeneous communities," IFS Working Papers W15/30, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
    • H83 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Public Administration
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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