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Ethnic Inequality

  • Alesina, Alberto F
  • Michalopoulos, Stelios
  • Papaioannou, Elias

This study explores the consequences and origins of contemporary differences in well-being across ethnic groups within countries. We construct measures of ethnic inequality combining ethnolinguistic maps on the spatial distribution of groups with satellite images of light density at night. Ethnic inequality is strongly inversely related to per capita income; this pattern holds when we condition on the overall degree of spatial inequality -that is also associated with underdevelopment. We further show that differences in geographic endowments across ethnic homelands explain a sizable portion of contemporary ethnic inequality. This deeply rooted inequality in geographic attributes across ethnic regions is also negatively related to comparative development. We also show that ethnic inequality goes in tandem with lower levels development within countries. Using micro-level data from the Afrobarometer surveys we show that individuals from the same ethnic group are worse off when they reside in districts with a high degree of ethnic inequality.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9225.

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Date of creation: Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9225
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  1. Nicola Gennaioli & Ilia Rainer, 2007. "The modern impact of precolonial centralization in Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 12(3), pages 185-234, September.
  2. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2011. "The Origins of Technolinguistic Diversity," Economics Working Papers 0095, Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science.
  3. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2011. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 8676, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2012. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," NBER Working Papers 18275, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Ashwini Deshpande, 2000. "Does Caste Still Define Disparity? A Look at Inequality in Kerala, India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 322-325, May.
  6. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0756, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
  8. Desmet, Klaus & Ortuño-Ortín, Ignacio & Wacziarg, Romain, 2012. "The political economy of linguistic cleavages," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 322-338.
  9. Bockstette, Valerie & Chanda, Areendam & Putterman, Louis, 2002. " States and Markets: The Advantage of an Early Start," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 347-69, December.
  10. J. Vernon Henderson & Adam Storeygard & David N. Weil, 2012. "Measuring Economic Growth from Outer Space," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(2), pages 994-1028, April.
  11. Raphaёl Franck & Ilia Rainer, 2012. "Does the Leader’s Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers 2012-06, Bar-Ilan University, Department of Economics.
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