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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. 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 222-79, April.
  2. 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 335-76, October.
  3. Mauro, Paolo, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712, August.
  4. Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY & Jean-François BRUN, 1998. "How Instability Lowers African Growth," Working Papers 199806, CERDI.
  5. 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.
  6. Easterly, W & Levine, R, 1996. "Africa's Growth Tragedy : Policies and Ethnic Divisions," Papers 536, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
  7. Jean-Louis ARCAND & Patrick GUILLAUMONT & Sylviane GUILLAUMONT JEANNENEY, 1998. "Ethnicity, Communication and Growth," Working Papers 199810, CERDI.
  8. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-73, October.
  9. Dani Rodrik, 1998. "Trade Policy and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa," NBER Working Papers 6562, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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