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How to make a tragedy: on the alleged effect of ethnicity on growth

Author

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  • Jean-Louis Arcand

    (CERDI-CNRS, Université d'Auvergne, and CRDE, Université de Montréal, Canada)

  • Patrick Guillaumont

    (CERDI-CNRS, Université d'Auvergne, France)

  • Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney

    (CERDI-CNRS, Université d'Auvergne, France)

Abstract

This paper questions the line of reasoning followed by several authors, notably Easterly and Levine according to which ethno-linguistic fragmentation, because it leads to poor policies, is the main factor explaining the 'tragedy' of low African growth. A first set of criticism concerns the model itself and stresses that current empirical work is unable to convincingly identify the channels through which ethnic fragmentation affects growth: (i) polarization may be more relevant than fragmentation, (ii) the various tests of the effect of ethnicity on the quality of policy are far from being conclusive. A second set of remarks concerns the relevance of these studies to Africa: the African sub-sample is often quite limited, and the relationship is unstable (according to Chow tests). It actually appears that ethnicity has a more important effect on growth in Africa than elsewhere. This still needs to be explained and is not as such an explanation for lower African growth. Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Louis Arcand & Patrick Guillaumont & Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney, 2000. "How to make a tragedy: on the alleged effect of ethnicity on growth," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 12(7), pages 925-938.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jintdv:v:12:y:2000:i:7:p:925-938
    DOI: 10.1002/1099-1328(200010)12:7<925::AID-JID667>3.0.CO;2-Y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Guillaumont, Patrick & Jeanneney, Sylviane Guillaumont & Brun, Jean-Francois, 1999. "How Instability Lowers African Growth," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 8(1), pages 87-107, March.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Jean-Louis ARCAND & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY, 1998. "Ethnicity, Communication and Growth," Working Papers 199810, CERDI.
    6. Temple, Jonathan, 1998. "Initial Conditions, Social Capital and Growth in Africa," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 7(3), pages 309-347, October.
    7. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-573, October.
    8. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    9. Sachs, Jeffrey D & Warner, Andrew M, 1997. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 6(3), pages 335-376, October.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eris, Mehmet, 2010. "Population heterogeneity and growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1211-1222, September.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    3. 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.
    4. Urbain Thierry YOGO, 2015. "Ethnic Diversity and the Efficiency of Public Spending in Developing Countries," Working Papers 201513, CERDI.
    5. Mwangi Gĩthĩnji, 2015. "Erasing Class/(Re)Creating Ethnicity: Jobs, Politics, Accumulation and Identity in Kenya," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 42(1), pages 87-110, June.
    6. Campos, Nauro F & Kuzeyev, Vitaliy S., 2007. "On the Dynamics of Ethnic Fractionalization," IZA Discussion Papers 2822, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Kanbur, Ravi & Rajaram, Prem Kumar & Varshney, Ashutosh, 2011. "Ethnic Diversity and Ethnic Strife. An Interdisciplinary Perspective," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 147-158, February.
    8. repec:wbk:wbpubs:28017 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Jean-Louis ARCAND & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY, 2001. "Are Policy Reform and Growth in Africa Sustainable?," Working Papers 200105, CERDI.
    10. Stichnoth, Holger & van der Straeten, Karine, 2009. "Ethnic diversity and attitudes towards redistribution: a review of the literature," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    11. Dirk Dohse & Robert Gold, 2013. "Measuring Cultural Diversity at a Regional Level," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 10, WWWforEurope.
    12. Max Köhler & Stefan Sperlich & Julian Vortmeyer, 2011. "The Africa-Dummy in Growth Regressions," Courant Research Centre: Poverty, Equity and Growth - Discussion Papers 94, Courant Research Centre PEG.
    13. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2008. "Why are ethnically divided countries poor?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-18, March.
    14. Pelle Ahlerup & Ola Olsson, 2012. "The roots of ethnic diversity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 71-102, June.
    15. Bellini, Elena & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P. & Pinelli, Dino & Prarolo, Giovanni, 2008. "Cultural diversity and economic performance: Evidence from European regions," HWWI Research Papers 3-14, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
    16. Jaimovich, Dany, 2011. "Macrostructure and microstructure: Evidence from overlapping village networks in The Gambia," MPRA Paper 38932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    17. Kelly LABART, 2010. "What is hidden behind the indicators of ethnolinguistic fragmentation?," Working Papers I07, FERDI.
    18. Valsecchi, Michele, 2010. "Ethnic diversity, economic performance and civil wars," Working Papers in Economics 433, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    19. Arcand, Jean-Louis & Jaimovich, Dany, 2014. "Does ethnic diversity decrease economic interactions? Evidence from exchange networks in rural Gambia," MPRA Paper 60497, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Urbain Thierry Yogo, 2015. "Ethnic Diversity and the Efficiency of Public Spending in Developing Countries," Working Papers halshs-01161599, HAL.
    21. Kelly LABART, 2010. "What is hidden behind the indicators of ethnolinguistic fragmentation?," Working Papers I07, FERDI.

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