IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/deveco/v133y2018icp231-263.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Subnational diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from a new dataset

Author

Listed:
  • Gershman, Boris
  • Rivera, Diego

Abstract

This paper presents a new dataset on subnational ethnolinguistic and religious diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa covering 36 countries and almost 400 first-level administrative units. We use population censuses and large-scale household surveys to compile detailed data on the ethnolinguistic composition of each region and match all reported ethnicities to Ethnologue, a comprehensive catalog of world languages. This matching allows us to standardize the notion of an ethnolinguistic group and account for relatedness between language pairs, a correlate of shared history and culture, when calculating diversity indices. Exploiting within-country variation provided by our new dataset, we find that local public goods provision, as reflected in metrics of education, health, and electricity access, is negatively related to ethnolinguistic diversity, but only if the underlying basic languages are first aggregated into larger families or if linguistic distances between groups are taken into consideration. In other words, only deep-rooted diversity, based on cleavages formed in the distant past, is strongly inversely associated with a range of regional development indicators. Furthermore, we show that subnational diversity has been remarkably persistent over the past two-three decades implying that population sorting in the short to medium run is unlikely to bias our main findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Gershman, Boris & Rivera, Diego, 2018. "Subnational diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from a new dataset," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 231-263.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:133:y:2018:i:c:p:231-263
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2018.01.003
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304387818300051
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version below or search for a different version of it.

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
    2. Enrico Spolaore & Romain Wacziarg, 2016. "War and Relatedness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 98(5), pages 925-939, December.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Caterina Gennaioli & Stefania Lovo, 2019. "Public Goods and Ethnic Diversity: Evidence from Deforestation in Indonesia," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 86(341), pages 32-66, January.
    4. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2012. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 20-36, February.
    5. Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 151-213.
    6. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
    7. Baldwin, Kate & Huber, John D., 2010. "Economic versus Cultural Differences: Forms of Ethnic Diversity and Public Goods Provision," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 644-662, November.
    8. Yann Algan & Camille Hémet & David D. Laitin, 2016. "The Social Effects of Ethnic Diversity at the Local Level: A Natural Experiment with Exogenous Residential Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(3), pages 696-733.
    9. Desmet, Klaus & Gomes, Joseph Flavian & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio, 2020. "The geography of linguistic diversity and the provision of public goods," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    10. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    11. Fearon, James D. & Laitin, David D., 2003. "Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(1), pages 75-90, February.
    12. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    13. Habyarimana, James & Humphreys, Macartan & Posner, Daniel N. & Weinstein, Jeremy M., 2007. "Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision?," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(4), pages 709-725, November.
    14. Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2016. "Linguistic Distances and Ethno-Linguistic Fractionalisation and Disenfranchisement Indices," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2016-25, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    15. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-1539, June.
    16. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    17. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-279, April.
    18. Rachel Glennerster & Edward Miguel & Alexander D. Rothenberg, 2013. "Collective Action in Diverse Sierra Leone Communities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 0, pages 285-316, May.
    19. Alberto Alesina & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1872-1911, August.
    20. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2011. "Linking Conflict to Inequality and Polarization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1345-1374, June.
    21. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 696-739.
    22. Nicola Gennaioli & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "Human Capital and Regional Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(1), pages 105-164.
    23. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2013. "Pre‐Colonial Ethnic Institutions and Contemporary African Development," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 81(1), pages 113-152, January.
    24. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
    25. 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.
    26. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2012. "The political economy of linguistic cleavages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 322-338.
    27. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Shlomo Weber, 2009. "Linguistic Diversity and Redistribution," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 7(6), pages 1291-1318, December.
    28. Joan Esteban & Laura Mayoral & Debraj Ray, 2012. "Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1310-1342, June.
    29. Jeroen Smits & Roel Steendijk, 2015. "The International Wealth Index (IWI)," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 122(1), pages 65-85, May.
    30. repec:hrv:faseco:30752835 is not listed on IDEAS
    31. Roland Hodler & Paul A. Raschky, 2014. "Regional Favoritism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 995-1033.
    32. Yann Algan & Camille Hémet & David D. Laitin, 2016. "The Social Effects of Ethnic Diversity at the Local Level: A Natural Experiment with Exogenous Residential Allocation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(3), pages 696-733.
    33. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Romain Wacziarg, 2017. "Culture, Ethnicity, and Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(9), pages 2479-2513, September.
    34. Mitton, Todd, 2016. "The wealth of subnations: Geography, institutions, and within-country development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 88-111.
    35. J. Vernon Henderson & Adam Storeygard & David N. Weil, 2012. "Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 994-1028, April.
    36. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    37. Gisselquist, Rachel M. & Leiderer, Stefan & Niño-Zarazúa, Miguel, 2016. "Ethnic Heterogeneity and Public Goods Provision in Zambia: Evidence of a Subnational “Diversity Dividend”," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 308-323.
    38. Alwyn Young, 2012. "The African Growth Miracle," NBER Working Papers 18490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. 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.
    40. Gerring, John & Thacker, Strom C. & Lu, Yuan & Huang, Wei, 2015. "Does Diversity Impair Human Development? A Multi-Level Test of the Diversity Debit Hypothesis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 166-188.
    41. Paul Collier, 2000. "Ethnicity, Politics and Economic Performance," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 12(3), pages 225-245, November.
    42. Kuhn, Patrick M. & Weidmann, Nils B., 2015. "Unequal We Fight: Between- and Within-Group Inequality and Ethnic Civil War," Political Science Research and Methods, Cambridge University Press, vol. 3(3), pages 543-568, September.
    43. repec:hrv:faseco:30747160 is not listed on IDEAS
    44. Conley, T. G., 1999. "GMM estimation with cross sectional dependence," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 92(1), pages 1-45, September.
    45. Marta Reynal-Querol, 2002. "Ethnicity, Political Systems, and Civil Wars," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 46(1), pages 29-54, February.
    46. Fearon, James D, 2003. "Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
    47. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Hodler, Roland & Valsecchi, Michele & Vesperoni, Alberto, 2017. "Ethnic Geography: Measurement and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 12378, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Desmet, Klaus & Gomes, Joseph Flavian & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio, 2020. "The geography of linguistic diversity and the provision of public goods," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).
    3. Joseph Flavian Gomes, 2020. "The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 195-226, June.
    4. Samuel Bazzi & Matthew Gudgeon, 2017. "The Political Boundaries of Ethnic Divisions," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2018-005, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    5. Christian Bommer & Axel Dreher & Marcello Perez-Alvarez, 2018. "Regional and Ethnic Favoritism in the Allocation of Humanitarian Aid," CESifo Working Paper Series 7038, CESifo.
    6. McNamee, Lachlan, 2019. "Indirect colonial rule and the salience of ethnicity," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 122(C), pages 142-156.
    7. Boris Gershman & Diego Rivera, 2020. "Measuring Regional Ethnolinguistic Diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Surveys vs. GIS," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 34(Supplemen), pages 40-45.
    8. Hollard, Guillaume & Sene, Omar, 2020. "What drives the quality of schools in Africa? Disentangling social capital and ethnic divisions," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    9. Liu, Kai & Yang, Jidong & Zou, Hongwei, 2020. "Cultural heterogeneity, social policy, and economic growth in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    10. Crespin-Boucaud, Juliette, 2020. "Interethnic and interfaith marriages in sub-Saharan Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).
    11. Christian Bommer & Axel Dreher & Marcello Perez-Alvarez, "undated". "Home bias in humanitarian aid: The role of regional favoritism in the allocation of international disaster relief," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 266, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    12. Manabu Nose, 2018. "Road to Industrialized Africa: Role of Efficient Factor Market in Firm Growth," IMF Working Papers 2018/184, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Gershman, Boris, 2020. "Witchcraft beliefs as a cultural legacy of the Atlantic slave trade: Evidence from two continents," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 122(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Joseph Flavian Gomes, 2020. "The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 195-226, June.
    2. Cemal Eren Arbatlı & Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2020. "Diversity and Conflict," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(2), pages 727-797, March.
    3. Bluhm, Richard & Thomsson, Kaj, 2020. "Holding on? Ethnic divisions, political institutions and the duration of economic declines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    4. Alberto Alesina & Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "Ethnic Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(2), pages 428-488.
    5. Gerring, John & Thacker, Strom C. & Lu, Yuan & Huang, Wei, 2015. "Does Diversity Impair Human Development? A Multi-Level Test of the Diversity Debit Hypothesis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 166-188.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Johann Harnoss & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "Birthplace diversity and economic prosperity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 101-138, June.
    7. Kyle L. Marquardt & Yoshiko M. Herrera, 2015. "Ethnicity as a Variable: An Assessment of Measures and Data Sets of Ethnicity and Related Identities," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(3), pages 689-716, September.
    8. Bluhm, Richard & Thomsson, Kaj, 2015. "Ethnic divisions, political institutions and the duration of declines: A political economy theory of delayed recovery," Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) dp-556, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät.
    9. Omar Shahabudin McDoom & Rachel M. Gisselquist, 2016. "The Measurement of Ethnic and Religious Divisions: Spatial, Temporal, and Categorical Dimensions with Evidence from Mindanao, the Philippines," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 129(2), pages 863-891, November.
    10. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2012. "The political economy of linguistic cleavages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 322-338.
    11. Bluhm, Richard & Thomsson, Kaj, 2015. "Ethnic divisions, political institutions and the duration of declines," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112863, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    12. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Viola Berlepsch, 2019. "Does Population Diversity Matter for Economic Development in the Very Long Term? Historic Migration, Diversity and County Wealth in the US," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 35(5), pages 873-911, December.
    13. Andrew Dickens, 2017. "Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics," Working Papers 1702, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    14. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Romain Wacziarg, 2009. "The political economy of ethnolinguistic cleavages," Working Papers 2009-17, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
    15. Christophe Muller, 2016. "Ethnic inequality and community activities in Indonesia," WIDER Working Paper Series 170, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    16. Paul Castaneda Dower & Victor Ginsburgh & Shlomo Weber, 2014. "Colonial Legacy, Linguistic Disenfranchisement and the Civil Conflict in Sri Lanka," Working Papers 2014-011, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    17. De Luca, Giacomo & Hodler, Roland & Raschky, Paul A. & Valsecchi, Michele, 2018. "Ethnic favoritism: An axiom of politics?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 115-129.
    18. Christophe Muller, 2017. "Ethnic Horizontal Inequity in Indonesia," Working Papers halshs-01508026, HAL.
    19. Ager, Philipp & Brückner, Markus, 2013. "Cultural diversity and economic growth: Evidence from the US during the age of mass migration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 76-97.
    20. Castañeda Dower, Paul & Ginsburgh, Victor & Weber, Shlomo, 2017. "Colonial legacy, polarization and linguistic disenfranchisement: The case of the Sri Lankan War," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 440-448.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    African development; Ethnolinguistic diversity; Public goods provision; Religious diversity; Subnational analysis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Z12 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Religion
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:133:y:2018:i:c:p:231-263. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Haili He). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.