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The value of democracy: evidence from road building in Kenya

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  • Burgess, Robin
  • Jedwab, Remi
  • Miguel, Edward
  • Morjaria, Ameet
  • Padró i Miquel, Gerard

Abstract

Ethnic favoritism is seen as antithetical to development. This paper provides credible quantification of the extent of ethnic favoritism using data on road building in Kenyan districts across the 1963–2011 period. Guided by a model it then examines whether the transition in and out of democracy under the same president constrains or exacerbates ethnic favoritism. Across the post-independence period, we find strong evidence of ethnic favoritism: districts that share the ethnicity of the president receive twice as much expenditure on roads and have five times the length of paved roads built. This favoritism disappears during periods of democracy.

Suggested Citation

  • Burgess, Robin & Jedwab, Remi & Miguel, Edward & Morjaria, Ameet & Padró i Miquel, Gerard, 2015. "The value of democracy: evidence from road building in Kenya," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 61947, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:61947
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O22 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Project Analysis
    • R42 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Government and Private Investment Analysis; Road Maintenance; Transportation Planning

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