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Ethnic Inequality

This study explores the consequences and origins of contemporary differences in well-being across ethnic groups within countries. We construct measures of ethnic inequality combining ethnolinguistic maps on the spatial distribution of groups with satellite images of light density at night. Ethnic inequality is strongly inversely related to per capita income; this pattern holds when we condition on the overall degree of spatial inequality -that is also associated with underdevelopment. We further show that differences in geographic endowments across ethnic homelands explain a sizable portion of contemporary ethnic inequality. This deeplyrooted inequality in geographic attributes across ethnic regions is also negatively related to comparative development. We also show that ethnic inequality goes in tandem with lower levels development also within countries. Using micro-level data from the Afrobarometer surveys we show that individuals from the same ethnic group are worse off when they reside in districts with a high degree of ethnic inequality.

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Paper provided by Brown University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-14.

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Date of creation: 2012
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Handle: RePEc:bro:econwp:2012-14
Contact details of provider: Postal: Department of Economics, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

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  1. Vernon Henderson & Adam Storeygard & David N. Weil, 2009. "Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space," Working Papers 2009-8, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2009. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 110, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  3. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 8676, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0756, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  5. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuño-Ortín & Romain Wacziarg, 2011. "The Political Economy of Linguistic Cleavages," Vives discussion paper series 20, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Faculteit Economie en Bedrijfswetenschappen, Vives.
  6. Ashwini Deshpande, 2000. "Does Caste Still Define Disparity? A Look at Inequality in Kerala, India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 322-325, May.
  7. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  8. Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. " States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-69, December.
  9. Raphaёl Franck & Ilia Rainer, 2012. "Does the Leader’s Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2012-06, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
  10. Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(1), pages 151-213.
  11. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
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