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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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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Souleymane Soumahoro, 2015. "Leadership favouritism in Africa," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(15), pages 1236-1239, October.
    2. Anders Aslund, 2015. "Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 7014.
    3. Andrew Dickens, 2017. "Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics," Working Papers 1702, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    4. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    5. Robin Burgess & Remi Jedwab & Edward Miguel & Ameet Morjaria & Gerard Padró i Miquel, 2015. "The Value of Democracy: Evidence from Road Building in Kenya," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(6), pages 1817-1851, June.
    6. Hodler, Roland & Raschky, Paul A., 2014. "Economic shocks and civil conflict at the regional level," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 124(3), pages 530-533.
    7. Dreher, Axel & Lamla, Michael J. & Lein, Sarah M. & Somogyi, Frank, 2009. "The impact of political leaders' profession and education on reforms," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 169-193, March.
    8. Joshua D. Angrist & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2009. "Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist's Companion," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 8769, June.
    9. Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2005. "Do Leaders Matter? National Leadership and Growth Since World War II," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 835-864.
    10. Roland Hodler & Paul A. Raschky, 2014. "Regional Favoritism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(2), pages 995-1033.
    11. Hannes Mueller & Agustin Tapsoba, 2016. "Access to Power, Political Institutions and Ethnic Favoritism," Working Papers 901, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
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    Citations

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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. Quoc-Anh Do & Kieu-Trang Nguyen & Anh N. Tran, 2016. "One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2q4cjijvsm8, Sciences Po.
    3. Do, Quoc-Anh & Nguyen, Kieu-Trang & Tran, Anh N., 2017. "One Mandarin benefits the whole clan: hometown favoritism in an authoritarian regime," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 85928, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    4. Christophe Muller, 2017. "Ethnic Horizontal Inequity in Indonesia," Working Papers halshs-01508026, HAL.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. repec:eee:ecolet:v:159:y:2017:i:c:p:78-81 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Quoc-Anh Do & Kieu-Trang Nguyen & Anh N. Tran, 2013. "One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2ck6as9uec9, Sciences Po.
    10. Quoc-Anh Do & Kieu-Trang Nguyen & Anh N. Tran, 2017. "One Mandarin Benefits the Whole Clan: Hometown Favoritism in an Authoritarian Regime," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/sj22pruud8a, Sciences Po.
    11. Andrew Dickens, 2017. "Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics," Working Papers 1702, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    12. 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.
    13. Fuchs, Andreas & Richert, Katharina, 2015. "Do Development Minister Characteristics Affect Aid Giving?," Working Papers 0604, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    14. 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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