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Ethnic Favoritism: An Axiom of Politics?

Author

Listed:
  • Giacomo De Luca
  • Roland Hodler
  • Paul A. Raschky
  • Michele Valsecchi

Abstract

We investigate the prevalence and determinants of ethnic favoritism, i.e., preferential public policies targeted at the political leader’s ethnic group. We construct a panel dataset of 2,022 ethnographic regions from 139 countries with annual observations from 1992 to 2012, and use nighttime light intensity as output measure to capture the distributive effects of a wide range of policies. We find robust evidence for ethnic favoritism: the political leaders’ ethnographic regions enjoy 10% higher nighttime light intensity. We further find that ethnic favoritism is a global rather than Sub-Saharan African phenomenon, which is present in poor as well as rich countries; that political institutions have a weak effect on ethnic favoritism; that ethnic favoritism is most prevalent in ethnically fractionalized and segregated countries with long established polities; and that ethnic favoritism does not contribute to sustainable development.

Suggested Citation

  • Giacomo De Luca & Roland Hodler & Paul A. Raschky & Michele Valsecchi, 2015. "Ethnic Favoritism: An Axiom of Politics?," CESifo Working Paper Series 5209, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5209
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ethnic favoritism; political leaders; institutions;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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