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Does the Leader’s Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Raphaёl Franck

    ()

    (Bar-Ilan University)

  • Ilia Rainer

In this paper we reassess the role of ethnic favoritism in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using data from 18 African countries, we study how primary education and infant mortality of ethnic groups were affected by changes in the ethnicity of the countries’ leaders during the last fifty years. Our results indicate that the effects of ethnic favoritism are large and widespread, thus providing support for ethnicity-based explanations of Africa’s underdevelopment. We also conduct a crosscountry analysis of ethnic favoritism in Africa. We find that ethnic favoritism is less prevalent in countries with one dominant religion. In addition, our evidence suggests that stronger fiscal capacity may have enabled African leaders to provide more ethnic favors in education but not in infant mortality. Finally, political factors, linguistic differences and patterns of ethnic segregation are found to be poor predictors of ethnic favoritism.

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File URL: http://econ.biu.ac.il/files/economics/working-papers/2012-06.pdf
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Paper provided by Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-06.

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Length: 57 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:biu:wpaper:2012-06
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  1. 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.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Watson, Tara, 2006. "Public health investments and the infant mortality gap: Evidence from federal sanitation interventions on U.S. Indian reservations," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1537-1560, September.
  11. 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).
  12. Wintrobe,Ronald, 1998. "The Political Economy of Dictatorship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521583299, June.
  13. Chin, Aimee, 2005. "Can redistributing teachers across schools raise educational attainment? Evidence from Operation Blackboard in India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 384-405, December.
  14. Nancy Qian, 2008. "Missing Women and the Price of Tea in China: The Effect of Sex-Specific Earnings on Sex Imbalance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(3), pages 1251-1285.
  15. Sen, Amartya, 1998. "Mortality as an Indicator of Economic Success and Failure," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 1-25, January.
  16. Hoyt Bleakley, 2007. "Disease and Development: Evidence from Hookworm Eradication in the American South," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(1), pages 73-117.
  17. Rosenzweig, Mark R & Schultz, T Paul, 1982. "Market Opportunities, Genetic Endowments, and Intrafamily Resource Distribution: Child Survival in Rural India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 803-15, September.
  18. 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.
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