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Ethnic identities, public spending and political regimes

Sugata Ghosh and Anirban Mitra ()

Journal of Comparative Economics, 2022, vol. 50, issue 1, 256-279

Abstract: Do democracies discriminate less against minorities as compared to non-democracies? How does the dominance of an ethnic group affect discrimination under various political regimes? We build a theory to analyse such questions. In our model, political leaders (democratically elected or not) decide on the allocation of spending on different types of public goods: a general public good and an ethnically-targetable public good which benefits the majority ethnic group while imposing a cost on the other minorities. We show that, under democracy, lower ethnic dominance leads to greater provision of the general public good while higher dominance implies higher provision of the ethnically-targetable good. Interestingly, the opposite relation obtains under dictatorship. This implies that political regime changes can favour or disfavour minorities based on the ambient level of ethnic dominance. Several historical events involving regime changes can be analysed within our framework and are consistent with our results.

Keywords: Ethnic identities; Discrimination; Public spending; Political regimes (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D74 H40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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Related works:
Working Paper: Ethnic Identities, Public Spending and Political Regimes (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Ethnic Identities, Public Spending and Political Regimes (2019) Downloads
Working Paper: Ethnic Identities, Public Spending and Political Regimes (2019) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:jcecon:v:50:y:2022:i:1:p:256-279

DOI: 10.1016/j.jce.2021.09.003

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