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Ethnic Favoritism: An Axiom of Politics?

Giacomo De Luca (), Roland Hodler, Paul Raschky () and Michele Valsecchi ()

No 11351, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: We investigate the prevalence and determinants of ethnic favoritism, i.e., preferential public policies targeted at the political leader's ethnic group. We are the first to study ethnic favoritism in a global sample and to use a broad measure - nighttime light intensity -- that allows capturing the distributive effects of a wide range of policies. We construct two panel datasets with several thousand ethnographic regions from around 140 multi-ethnic countries and annual observations from 1992 to 2013. We find robust evidence for ethnic favoritism: ethnographic regions enjoy 7%-10% more intense nighttime light and 2%-3% higher GDP when being the current political leader's ethnic homeland. We further document that ethnic favoritism is a global phenomenon prevalent both within and outside of Africa; that economic development and better political institutions have at best weak effects on ethnic favoritism; that ethnic favoritism is partly motivated by electoral concerns and extends to linguistically close groups; and that ethnic favoritism does not contribute to sustainable development.

Keywords: elections; Ethnic favoritism; institutions; political leaders (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 J15 O43 R11 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
Date: 2016-06
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Related works:
Journal Article: Ethnic favoritism: An axiom of politics? (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Ethnic Favoritism: An Axiom of Politics? (2015) Downloads
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