Ethnic Group Inequalities and Governance: Evidence from Developing Countries


  • Andreas P. Kyriacou

    1. Departament d'Economia, Facultat de Ciències Econòmiques i Empresarials, Universitat de Girona, Campus de Montilivi, Girona, Spain
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    • I would like to thank the participants of the African History and Politics Seminar at Queen Elisabeth House (University of Oxford) for their kind suggestions on an embryonic version of this paper. Thanks also to Gudrun Østby for the data on socio-economic inequalities. I acknowledge financial support from projects ECO2010-21668-C03-02 (Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología), 2009SGR-2013 and XREPP (Direcció General de Recerca). Any errors are strictly my own.


Institutional quality has been increasingly identified as crucial for economic development. In line with previous work which has explored the determinants of good institutions, this paper examines the impact of economic and social inequalities between ethnic groups on government quality. I hypothesize that greater inequalities between groups will tend to undermine institutions both because they tend to legitimize corruption in the eyes of disadvantaged groups and because of the efforts of better-off groups to maintain their privileges. Based on a panel of 29 developing countries, I find that socio-economic ethnic group inequalities reduce government quality, something which suggests the convenience of policies that can level the playing field in ethnically heterogeneous societies.