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How To Make A Tragedy: On The Alleged Effect Of Ethnicity On Growth

  • Jean-Louis ARCAND

    ()

    (Institut des Hautes Etudes Internationales et du Développement)

  • Patrick GUILLAUMONT

    ()

    (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International)

  • Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY

    ()

    (Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches sur le Développement International)

This paper questions the line of reasoning followed by several authors, notably Easterly and Levine (1997), according to which ethno-linguistic fragmentation, mainly because it leads to poor policies, is an handicap to growth. A first set of criticisms concerns the model itself: (i) polarization may be more relevant than fragmentation, (ii) the coefficients associated with macro-policy variables are not reduced when ethnic variables are introduced, even with an homogeneous sample; (iii) several other 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: (i) the Africa dummy is generally insensitive to the inclusion of ethnic fragmentation; (ii) the African sub-sample is quite limited (nine out of forty observations, on average), and the relationship is unstable (according to Chow tests). Current empirical work is unable to convincingly identify the channels through which ethnic fragmentation affects growth. Moreover, there appears to be no robust evidence indicating that the effect of ethnic fragmentation on growth operates through its impact on policy choices.

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Paper provided by CERDI in its series Working Papers with number 199903.

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Length: 13
Date of creation: 1999
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of International Development, Octobre 2000, pages 925-938
Handle: RePEc:cdi:wpaper:102
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  1. Sachs, J-D & Warner, A-M, 1996. "Sources of Slow Growth in African Economies," Papers 545, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  2. Easterly, William & Levine, Ross, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-50, November.
  3. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  4. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  5. 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.
  6. Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "The Quality of Government," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1847, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  7. Jean-Louis ARCAND & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY, 1999. "Ethnicity, Communication and Growth," Working Papers 199922, CERDI.
  8. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. 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 309-47, October.
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