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Ethnic Favoritism: An Axiom of Politics?

Author

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

Abstract

We investigate the prevalence and determinants of ethnic favoritism, i.e., preferential public policies targeted at the political leader's ethnic group. We are the first to study ethnic favoritism in a global sample and to use a broad measure - nighttime light intensity -- that allows capturing the distributive effects of a wide range of policies. We construct two panel datasets with several thousand ethnographic regions from around 140 multi-ethnic countries and annual observations from 1992 to 2013. We find robust evidence for ethnic favoritism: ethnographic regions enjoy 7%-10% more intense nighttime light and 2%-3% higher GDP when being the current political leader's ethnic homeland. We further document that ethnic favoritism is a global phenomenon prevalent both within and outside of Africa; that economic development and better political institutions have at best weak effects on ethnic favoritism; that ethnic favoritism is partly motivated by electoral concerns and extends to linguistically close groups; and that ethnic favoritism does not contribute to sustainable development.

Suggested Citation

  • De Luca, Giacomo & Hodler, Roland & Raschky, Paul A. & Valsecchi, Michele, 2016. "Ethnic Favoritism: An Axiom of Politics?," CEPR Discussion Papers 11351, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:11351
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    Cited by:

    1. Samuel Bazzi & Matthew Gudgeon, 2015. "Local Government Proliferation, Diversity, and Conflict," HiCN Working Papers 205, Households in Conflict Network.
    2. Hodler, Roland & Valsecchi, Michele & Vesperoni, Alberto, 2017. "Ethnic Geography: Measurement and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 12378, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Quoc-Anh Do & Kieu-Trang Nguyen & Anh N. Tran, 2017. "One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1-29, October.
    4. Quoc-Anh Do & Kieu-Trang Nguyen & Anh N. Tran, 2017. "One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 1-29, October.
    5. Christophe Muller, 2017. "Ethnic Horizontal Inequity in Indonesia," Working Papers halshs-01508026, HAL.
    6. Dreher, Axel & Fuchs, Andreas & Hodler, Roland & Parks, Bradley C. & Raschky, Paul A. & Tierney, Michael J., 2015. "Aid on Demand: African Leaders and the Geography of China's Foreign Assistance," CEPR Discussion Papers 10704, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    7. Samuel Bazzi & Matthew Gudgeon, "undated". "Local Government Proliferation, Diversity, and Conflict," Boston University - Department of Economics - The Institute for Economic Development Working Papers Series dp-271, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    8. Gomes, Joseph, 2014. "The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa," ISER Working Paper Series 2014-33, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    9. repec:eee:ecolet:v:159:y:2017:i:c:p:78-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Samuel Bazzi & Matthew Gudgeon, 2017. "The Political Boundaries of Ethnic Divisions," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2018-005, Boston University - Department of Economics.
    11. Christian Bommer & Axel Dreher & Marcello Perez-Alvarez, 2018. "Regional and Ethnic Favoritism in the Allocation of Humanitarian Aid," CESifo Working Paper Series 7038, CESifo Group Munich.
    12. Andrew Dickens, 2017. "Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics," Working Papers 1702, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    13. Anna Bruederle & Roland Hodler, 2017. "Nighttime Lights as a Proxy for Human Development at the Local Level," CESifo Working Paper Series 6555, CESifo Group Munich.
    14. Fuchs, Andreas & Richert, Katharina, 2015. "Do Development Minister Characteristics Affect Aid Giving?," Working Papers 0604, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    15. Christophe Muller, 2016. "Ethnic inequality and community activities in Indonesia," WIDER Working Paper Series 170, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    elections; Ethnic favoritism; institutions; political leaders;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • 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
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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