This study explores the consequences and origins of between-ethnicity economic inequality both across and within countries. First, combining satellite images of nighttime luminosity with the historical homelands of ethnolinguistic groups we construct measures of ethnic inequality for a large sample of countries and show that the latter is strongly inversely related to comparative development. Second, differences in geographic endowments across ethnic homelands explain a sizable portion of ethnic inequality contributing to its persistence over time. Third, exploiting across-district within-African countries variation using individual-level data on ethnic identification and well-being from the Afrobarometer Surveys we find that between ethnic-group inequality is systematically linked to regional under-development. In this sample we also explore the channels linking ethnic inequality to (under) development, finding that ethnic inequality maps to political inequality, heightened perceptions of discrimination and undersupply of public goods.
We thank Christian Dippel, Nathan Nunn, Debraj Ray, Andrei Shleifer, Enrico Spolaore, Pierre Yared, Romain Wacziarg, David Weil, Michele Lenza, Oeindrila Dube and Ivo Welch for valuable comments and suggestions. We also would like to thank for useful feedback seminar participants at Dartmouth, the Athens University of Economics and Business, UBC, Brown, CREi, Oxford, Bocconi, NYU, Paris School of Economics, Warwick, LSE, Nottingham, the NBER Summer Institute Meetings in Political Economy, the CEPR Development Economics Workshop, the conference "How Long is the Shadow of History? The Long-Term Persistence of Economic Outcomes" at UCLA, and the Nemmers Conference in the Political Economy of Growth and Development at Northwestern University. All errors are our own responsibility. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Alberto Alesina & Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2016. "Ethnic Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 124(2), pages 000 - 000. citation courtesy of