IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/18512.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Ethnic Inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Alberto F. Alesina
  • Stelios Michalopoulos
  • Elias Papaioannou

Abstract

This study explores the consequences and origins of between-ethnicity economic inequality both across and within countries. First, combining satellite images of nighttime luminosity with the historical homelands of ethnolinguistic groups we construct measures of ethnic inequality for a large sample of countries and show that the latter is strongly inversely related to comparative development. Second, differences in geographic endowments across ethnic homelands explain a sizable portion of ethnic inequality contributing to its persistence over time. Third, exploiting across-district within-African countries variation using individual-level data on ethnic identification and well-being from the Afrobarometer Surveys we find that between ethnic-group inequality is systematically linked to regional under-development. In this sample we also explore the channels linking ethnic inequality to (under) development, finding that ethnic inequality maps to political inequality, heightened perceptions of discrimination and undersupply of public goods.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto F. Alesina & Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2012. "Ethnic Inequality," NBER Working Papers 18512, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18512
    Note: DEV EFG POL
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18512.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. José G. Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2005. "Ethnic Polarization, Potential Conflict, and Civil Wars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 796-816, June.
    2. Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), 2011. "Handbook of the Economics of Education," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 4, June.
    3. Alberto Alesina & Johann Harnoss & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "Birthplace diversity and economic prosperity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 101-138, June.
    4. Lessmann, Christian, 2014. "Spatial inequality and development — Is there an inverted-U relationship?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 35-51.
    5. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(1), pages 3-71, March.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
    7. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    8. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1802-1848, July.
    9. Easterly, William, 2007. "Inequality does cause underdevelopment: Insights from a new instrument," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 755-776, November.
    10. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    11. Esteban, Joan & Ray, Debraj, 1994. "On the Measurement of Polarization," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 819-851, July.
    12. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2008. "Human Genetic Diversity and Comparative Economic Development," 2008 Meeting Papers 617, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. William Easterly & Ross Levine, 1997. "Africa's Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(4), pages 1203-1250.
    14. Stelios Michalopoulos, 2012. "The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1508-1539, June.
    15. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
    16. Alberto Alesina & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2011. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 1872-1911, August.
    17. Joan Esteban & Debraj Ray, 2011. "Linking Conflict to Inequality and Polarization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1345-1374, June.
    18. Anirban Mitra & Debraj Ray, 2014. "Implications of an Economic Theory of Conflict: Hindu-Muslim Violence in India," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 122(4), pages 719-765.
    19. Maxim Pinkovskiy & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2014. "Lights, Camera,... Income!: Estimating Poverty Using National Accounts, Survey Means, and Lights," NBER Working Papers 19831, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Louis Putterman & David N. Weil, 2010. "Post-1500 Population Flows and The Long-Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 125(4), pages 1627-1682.
    21. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1998. "Law and Finance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1113-1155, December.
    22. Elias Papaioannou, 2014. "National Institutions and Subnational Development in Africa," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(1), pages 151-213.
    23. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
    24. Oded, Galor, 2011. "Inequality, Human Capital Formation, and the Process of Development," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 0, pages 441-493, Elsevier.
    25. Patrick Bolton & Gérard Roland, 1997. "The Breakup of Nations: A Political Economy Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 112(4), pages 1057-1090.
    26. Andreas P. Kyriacou, 2013. "Ethnic Group Inequalities and Governance: Evidence from Developing Countries," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 78-101, February.
    27. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2001. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(5), pages 1369-1401, December.
    28. 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.
    29. Collier, Paul & Hoeffler, Anke, 1998. "On Economic Causes of Civil War," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 563-573, October.
    30. Benabou, Roland, 2005. "Inequality, Technology and the Social Contract," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 25, pages 1595-1638, Elsevier.
    31. Papaioannou, Elias & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 8088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    32. Nathan Nunn & Diego Puga, 2012. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 20-36, February.
    33. Franck, Raphaã‹L & Rainer, Ilia, 2012. "Does the Leader's Ethnicity Matter? Ethnic Favoritism, Education, and Health in Sub-Saharan Africa," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 294-325, May.
    34. Quamrul Ashraf & Oded Galor, 2013. "The 'Out of Africa' Hypothesis, Human Genetic Diversity, and Comparative Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 1-46, February.
    35. 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.
    36. Siwan Anderson, 2011. "Caste as an Impediment to Trade," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 239-263, January.
    37. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2003. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2028, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    38. 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.
    39. Robert E. Hall & Charles I. Jones, 1999. "Why do Some Countries Produce So Much More Output Per Worker than Others?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 114(1), pages 83-116.
    40. Cederman, Lars-Erik & Weidmann, Nils B. & Gleditsch, Kristian Skrede, 2011. "Horizontal Inequalities and Ethnonationalist Civil War: A Global Comparison," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 478-495, August.
    41. Fearon, James D, 2003. "Ethnic and Cultural Diversity by Country," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 195-222, June.
    42. Louis Putterman, 2008. "Agriculture, Diffusion and Development: Ripple Effects of the Neolithic Revolution," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(300), pages 729-748, November.
    43. John D. Huber & Laura Mayoral, 2013. "Inequality, Ethnicity and Civil Conflict," Working Papers 744, Barcelona School of Economics.
    44. Ezcurra, Roberto & Rodríguez-Pose, Andrés, 2013. "Does Economic Globalization affect Regional Inequality? A Cross-country Analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 92-103.
    45. Timothy Besley & Torsten Persson, 2011. "Pillars of Prosperity: The Political Economics of Development Clusters," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9624.
    46. Baldwin, Kate & Huber, John D., 2010. "Economic versus Cultural Differences: Forms of Ethnic Diversity and Public Goods Provision," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 104(4), pages 644-662, November.
    47. Philippe Aghion, 2005. "Growth and Institutions," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 32(1), pages 3-18, March.
    48. Fearon, James D. & Laitin, David D., 2003. "Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 97(1), pages 75-90, February.
    49. Frances Stewart, "undated". "Horizontal Inequalities: A Neglected Dimension of Development," QEH Working Papers qehwps81, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
    50. Nathan Nunn & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(7), pages 3221-3252, December.
    51. 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.
    52. Joan Esteban & Laura Mayoral & Debraj Ray, 2012. "Ethnicity and Conflict: An Empirical Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1310-1342, June.
    53. Christopher Blattman & Edward Miguel, 2010. "Civil War," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 48(1), pages 3-57, March.
    54. Roland Hodler & Paul A. Raschky, 2014. "Regional Favoritism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 129(2), pages 995-1033.
    55. Kaufmann, Daniel & Kraay, Aart & Mastruzzi, Massimo, 2005. "Governance matters IV : governance indicators for 1996-2004," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3630, The World Bank.
    56. 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 347-369, December.
    57. Nils B. Weidmann & Jan Ketil Roslashd & Lars-Erik Cederman, 2010. "Representing ethnic groups in space: A new dataset," Journal of Peace Research, Peace Research Institute Oslo, vol. 47(4), pages 491-499, July.
    58. José Garcia Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2004. "Ethnic polarization, potential conflict and civil wars," Economics Working Papers 770, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Mar 2005.
    59. Andrea Tesei, 2014. "Trust, Racial Fragmentation and Income Inequality: New Evidence from the U.S," CESifo Working Paper Series 4718, CESifo.
    60. James A. Robinson, 2001. "Social identity, inequality and conflict," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 85-99, March.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Gershman, Boris & Rivera, Diego, 2018. "Subnational diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from a new dataset," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(C), pages 231-263.
    2. Joseph Flavian Gomes, 2020. "The health costs of ethnic distance: evidence from sub-Saharan Africa," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 25(2), pages 195-226, June.
    3. Cemal Eren Arbatlı & Quamrul H. Ashraf & Oded Galor & Marc Klemp, 2020. "Diversity and Conflict," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 88(2), pages 727-797, March.
    4. Hodler, Roland & Valsecchi, Michele & Vesperoni, Alberto, 2021. "Ethnic geography: Measurement and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    5. Alberto Alesina & Johann Harnoss & Hillel Rapoport, 2016. "Birthplace diversity and economic prosperity," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 101-138, June.
    6. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2020. "Historical Legacies and African Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 58(1), pages 53-128, March.
    7. Trung V. Vu, 2021. "Are genetic traits associated with riots? The political legacy of prehistorically determined genetic diversity," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 74(4), pages 567-595, November.
    8. Casey, Gregory P. & Owen, Ann L., 2014. "Inequality and Fractionalization," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 32-50.
    9. Kyle L. Marquardt & Yoshiko M. Herrera, 2015. "Ethnicity as a Variable: An Assessment of Measures and Data Sets of Ethnicity and Related Identities," Social Science Quarterly, Southwestern Social Science Association, vol. 96(3), pages 689-716, September.
    10. Andrew Dickens, 2017. "Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics," Working Papers 1702, Brock University, Department of Economics.
    11. Arcangelo Dimico, 2017. "Size Matters: The Effect of the Size of Ethnic Groups on Development," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 79(3), pages 291-318, June.
    12. Camille Laville, 2018. "The econometrical causal analysis of internal conflicts: The evolutions of a growing literature [L’analyse économétrique des conflits internes par l’approche causale : les évolutions d’une littérat," Working Papers hal-01940461, HAL.
    13. Papaioannou, Elias & Michalopoulos, Stelios, 2010. "Divide and Rule or the Rule of the Divided? Evidence from Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 8088, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    14. Eva M. Buitrago & M. Ángeles Caraballo, 2022. "Measuring social diversity in economic literature: An overview for cross‐country studies," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 36(4), pages 880-934, September.
    15. Broich, Tobias & Szirmai, Adam & Thomsson, Kaj, 2015. "Precolonial centralisation, foreign aid and modern state capacity in Africa," MERIT Working Papers 2015-025, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    16. Merima Ali & Odd-Helge Fjeldstad & Boqian Jiang & Abdulaziz B Shifa, 2019. "Colonial Legacy, State-building and the Salience of Ethnicity in Sub-Saharan Africa," The Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 129(619), pages 1048-1081.
    17. Camille Laville, 2018. "The econometrical causal analysis of internal conflicts: The evolutions of a growing literature [L’analyse économétrique des conflits internes par l’approche causale : les évolutions d’une littérat," CERDI Working papers hal-01940461, HAL.
    18. Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "The Long-Run Effects of the Scramble for Africa," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1802-1848, July.
    19. Depetris-Chauvin, Emilio & Özak, Ömer, 2016. "The Origins and Long-Run Consequences of the Division of Labor," MPRA Paper 74703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Lopez-Uribe, Maria del Pilar & Castells-Quintana, David & McDermott, Thomas K. J., 2017. "Geography, institutions and development: a review ofthe long-run impacts of climate change," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65147, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18512. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: the person in charge (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.