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Ethnicity, Governance and the Provision of Public Goods


  • Mwangi S. Kimenyi

    (University of Connecticut)


Ethnicity is an important institution and one that impacts on the quality of governance. This paper focuses on the behavior of ethnic groups and specifically on their impact on the provision of public goods. The paper shows that ethnic heterogeneity results in under-provision of non-excludable public goods. On the other hand, such societies associate with provision of patronage goods. The paper proposes some areas of research such the economics of ethnic institutions, empirical evidence of the role ethnic groups on public goods provision, tax compliance and institutional reforms to improve governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2003. "Ethnicity, Governance and the Provision of Public Goods," Working papers 2003-49, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2003-49 Note: This paper was prepared for presentation at the December 2003 Biannual Meetings of the African Economic Research Consortium. I am grateful to Japeth Awiti and Boaz Munga for research assistance and Germano Mwabu for comments. Nevertheless, I am the sole residual claimant to all remaining errors.

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kimenyi, Mwangi S & Mbaku, John M, 1993. "Rent-Seeking and Institutional Stability in Developing Countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 77(2), pages 385-405, October.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2000. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 847-904.
    3. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Baqir, Reza & Easterly, William, 2000. "Redistributive Public Employment," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 219-241, September.
    5. David Dreyer Lassen, 2003. "Ethnic Divisions and the Size of the Informal Sector," EPRU Working Paper Series 03-01, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. Betancourt, Roger & Gleason, Suzanne, 2000. "The Allocation of Publicly-Provided Goods to Rural Households in India: On Some Consequences of Caste, Religion and Democracy," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2169-2182, December.
    8. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1994. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 465-490.
    9. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Who trusts others?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(2), pages 207-234, August.
    10. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
    11. Edward Miguel, 2001. "Ethnic Diversity and School Funding in Kenya," HEW 0012001, EconWPA.
    12. Robert H. Bates, 1999. "Ethnicity, Capital Formation, and Conflict," CID Working Papers 27, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    13. Edward L. Glaeser & David I. Laibson & José A. Scheinkman & Christine L. Soutter, 2000. "Measuring Trust," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 811-846.
      • Glaeser, Edward Ludwig & Laibson, David I. & Scheinkman, Jose A. & Soutter, Christine L., 2000. "Measuring Trust," Scholarly Articles 4481497, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    14. John Conlon & Mwangi Kimenyi, 1991. "Attitudes towards race and poverty in the demand for private education: The case of Mississippi," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 20(2), pages 5-22, December.
    15. Spicer, M W & Lundstedt, S B, 1976. "Understanding Tax Evasion," Public Finance = Finances publiques, , vol. 31(2), pages 295-305.
    16. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:03:p:567-576_10 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Mwangi Kimenyi & William Shughart, 1989. "Political successions and the growth of government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 62(2), pages 173-179, August.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances; Revolutions
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods


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