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Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions

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  • Baqir, Reza
  • Easterly, William
  • Alesina, Alberto

Abstract

We present a model that links heterogeneity of preferences across ethnic groups in a city to the amount and type of public goods the city supplies. We test the implications of the model with three related data sets: U. S. cities, U. S. metropolitan areas, and U. S. urban counties. Results show that the shares of spending on productive public goods—education, roads, sewers and trash pickup—in U. S. cities (metro areas/urban counties) are inversely related to the city's (metro area's/county's) ethnic fragmentation, even after controlling for other socioeconomic and demographic determinants. We conclude that ethnic conflict is an important determinant of local public finances.

Suggested Citation

  • Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," Scholarly Articles 4551797, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4551797
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    References listed on IDEAS

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