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Tribal heterogeneity and the allocation of publicly provided goods: Evidence from Yemen


  • Egel, Daniel


This paper examines how tribes, the dominant political structure in rural areas of many developing countries, can affect the allocation of publicly provided goods. I create a dataset containing more than 4000 unique Yemeni local tribes and study their relationship with the public provision of educational goods. I demonstrate that areas with greater tribal heterogeneity receive larger allocations of publicly provided teachers and classrooms; I find evidence that this result reflects tribes' roles in influencing both political patronage from the state and targeted development transfers from development donors. This result, while different from most previous studies, reflects the nature of the publicly provided good being studied which is locally excludable precisely along the local tribal lines used for calculating heterogeneity. These results may offer generalizable insight into a variety of other developing country contexts where access to publicly provided goods is controlled or influenced by local groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Egel, Daniel, 2013. "Tribal heterogeneity and the allocation of publicly provided goods: Evidence from Yemen," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 101(C), pages 228-232.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:101:y:2013:i:c:p:228-232 DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2012.10.008

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 219-241, September.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:101:y:2007:i:04:p:709-725_07 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Catherine Bros, 2010. "Social fragmentation and public goods: polarization, inequality and patronage in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 10026, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    4. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    5. Habyarimana, James P. & Humphreys, Macartan & Posner, Daniel N. & Weinstein, Jeremy, 2006. "Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision? An Experimental Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 2272, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Banerjee, Abhijit & Somanathan, Rohini, 2007. "The political economy of public goods: Some evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 287-314, March.
    7. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    8. Miguel, Edward & Gugerty, Mary Kay, 2005. "Ethnic diversity, social sanctions, and public goods in Kenya," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2325-2368, December.
    9. Fearon, James D, 2003. "Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shoji, Masahiro, 2017. "Religious Fractionalisation and Crimes in Disaster-Affected Communities: Survey Evidence from Bangladesh," MPRA Paper 78702, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/11715 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    Ethnic diversity; Tribes; Local public goods; Patronage; Yemen;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development


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