Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross-Section of Countries

Alberto Alesina, Ekaterina Zhuravskaya

NBER Working Paper No. 14316
Issued in September 2008
NBER Program(s):   PE

This paper has three goals. The first (and perhaps the most important one) is to provide a new compilation of data on ethnic, linguistic and religious composition at the sub-national level for a large number of countries. This data set allows us to measure segregation of different ethnic, religious and linguistic groups within the same country. The second goal is to correlate measures of segregation with measures of quality of the polity and policymaking. The third is to construct an instrument that helps to overcome the endogeneity problem due to the fact that groups move within country borders, partly in response to policies. Our results suggest that more segregated countries in terms of ethnicity and language, i.e., those where groups live more spatially separately, have a substantially lower quality of government. In contrast, there is no relationship between religious segregation and the government quality.

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This paper was revised on December 5, 2011

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w14316

Published: 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. citation courtesy of

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