Andrew Dickens, Brock University

Ethnolinguistic Favoritism in African Politics
Friday, 24 November 2017 - 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm
Location
Contact information
Contact person: 
Anthony Heyes
Email: 
aheyes@uottawa.ca
Phone: 
613-562-5800
Extension: 
1135
Registration
Registration required: 
No
Cost to attend: 
Free of charge
Event language: 
Intended audience: 
Event sponsors: 
CRC Seminars in Environmental/Public Economics
Abstract:    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.