Ethnic Inequality

66 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2012

See all articles by Alberto F. Alesina

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stelios Michalopoulos

Brown University - Department of Economics; Brown University

Elias Papaioannou

London Business School; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: October 31, 2012

Abstract

This study explores the consequences and origins of contemporary differences in well-being across ethnic groups within countries. We construct measures of ethnic inequality combining ethnolinguistic maps on the spatial distribution of groups with satellite images of light density at night. Ethnic inequality is strongly inversely related to per capita income; this pattern holds when we condition on the overall degree of spatial inequality -that is also associated with underdevelopment. We further show that differences in geographic endowments across ethnic homelands explain a sizable portion of contemporary ethnic inequality. This deeply-rooted inequality in geographic attributes across ethnic regions is also negatively related to comparative development. We also show that ethnic inequality goes in tandem with lower levels development also within countries. Using micro-level data from the Afrobarometer surveys we show that individuals from the same ethnic group are worse off when they reside in districts with a high degree of ethnic inequality.

Keywords: Ethnicity, Diversity, Inequality, Development, Geography

JEL Classification: O10, O40, O43

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Michalopoulos, Stelios and Papaioannou, Elias, Ethnic Inequality (October 31, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2169485 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2169485

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Stelios Michalopoulos

Brown University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Brown University ( email )

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Elias Papaioannou

London Business School ( email )

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London NW1 4SA
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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