Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 2018, vol. 10, issue 3, 370-402
African political leaders have a tendency to favor members of their own ethnic group. Yet for all other ethnic groups in a country, it is unclear whether having a similar ethnicity to the leader is beneficial. To shed light on this issue, I use a continuous measure of linguistic similarity to quantify the ethnic similarity of a leader to all ethnic groups in a country. Combined with panel data on 163 ethnic groups partitioned across 35 sub-Saharan countries, I use within-group time variation in similarity that results from a partitioned group's concurrent exposure to multiple national leaders. Findings show that ethnic favoritism is more widespread than previously believed: in addition to evidence of coethnic favoritism, I document evidence of non-coethnic favoritism that typically goes undetected in the absence of a continuous measure of similarity. I also find that patronage tends to be targeted toward ethnic regions rather than individuals of a particular ethnic group. I relate these results to the literature on coalition building, and provide evidence that ethnicity is one of the guiding principles behind high-level government appointments.
JEL-codes: D72 J15 O15 O17 Z13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20160066
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (39) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrie ... DnXCnBUrCcAVdq278Qq2 (application/zip)
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrie ... viiuFmy0IjcxepnOmstZ (application/pdf)
https://www.aeaweb.org/articles/attachments?retrie ... Kzf60myTJ1OlapK14YOg (application/zip)
Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:10:y:2018:i:3:p:370-402
Ordering information: This journal article can be ordered from
Access Statistics for this article
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics is currently edited by Alexandre Mas
More articles in American Economic Journal: Applied Economics from American Economic Association Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Michael P. Albert ().