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

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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," The 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. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Jean-Louis ARCAND & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY, 2001. "Are Policy Reform and Growth in Africa Sustainable?," Working Papers 200105, CERDI.
    6. Stichnoth, Holger & van der Straeten, Karine, 2009. "Ethnic diversity and attitudes towards redistribution: a review of the literature," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-036, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
    7. Pelle Ahlerup & Ola Olsson, 2012. "The roots of ethnic diversity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 71-102, June.
    8. Nauro F. Campos & Vitaliy S. Kuzeyev, 2007. "On the Dynamics of Ethnic Fractionalization," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 51(3), pages 620-639, July.
    9. Jaimovich, Dany, 2011. "Macrostructure and microstructure: Evidence from overlapping village networks in The Gambia," MPRA Paper 38932, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Jean‐Louis Arcand & Dany Jaimovich, 2019. "Does ethnic diversity decrease economic interactions? Evidence from exchange networks in rural Gambia," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 27(2), pages 327-353, February.
    11. Dirk Dohse & Robert Gold, 2013. "Measuring Cultural Diversity at a Regional Level. WWWforEurope Working Paper No. 10," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 46857, June.
    12. Kelly LABART, 2010. "What is hidden behind the indicators of ethnolinguistic fragmentation?," Working Papers I07, FERDI.
    13. Urbain Thierry Yogo, 2015. "Ethnic Diversity and the Efficiency of Public Spending in Developing Countries," CERDI Working papers halshs-01161599, HAL.
    14. Eris, Mehmet, 2010. "Population heterogeneity and growth," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1211-1222, September.
    15. Urbain Thierry Yogo, 2015. "Ethnic Diversity and the Efficiency of Public Spending in Developing Countries," Working Papers halshs-01161599, HAL.
    16. Ravi Kanbur, 2008. "Globalization, Growth, and Distribution," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 28017.
    17. Bridgman, Benjamin, 2008. "Why are ethnically divided countries poor?," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 1-18, March.
    18. Elena Bellini & Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano & Dino Pinelli & Giovanni Prarolo, 2013. "Cultural Diversity and Economic Performance: Evidence from European Regions," Advances in Spatial Science, in: Riccardo Crescenzi & Marco Percoco (ed.), Geography, Institutions and Regional Economic Performance, edition 127, pages 121-141, Springer.
    19. Kelly LABART, 2010. "What is hidden behind the indicators of ethnolinguistic fragmentation?," Working Papers I07, FERDI.
    20. Valsecchi, Michele, 2010. "Ethnic diversity, economic performance and civil wars," Working Papers in Economics 433, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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