Democracy and Ethnic Favoritism: Evidence from Africa

Ethnic favoritism

Hussain Hadah, “Democracy and Ethnic Favoritism: Evidence from Africa,” Working Paper


University of Houston


What is the effect of democracy on ethnic favoritism? I estimate the relationship between co-ethnicity and five outcomes of public good provision – education, infant health, wealth, access to clean drinking water and access to electricity – using data from twentyone African countries. Following previous research, I use variation in co-ethnicity across ethnic groups and over time. I first estimate the relationship between these five outcomes and co-ethnicity in the full sample and then split the analysis between anocracies and democracies. I find mixed evidence of ethnic favoritism in the full sample. I find more evidence of co-ethnic targeting when comparing within democracies only and within anocracies only.