Public Goods and the Salience of Local Ethnic Diversity: The Case of Teacher Absenteeism in Africa

78 Pages Posted: 13 May 2016

Date Written: April 29, 2016

Abstract

Scholars have identified ethnic diversity as a major impediment to the provision of public goods. Whether or not this depends on the salience of ethnic identification is unclear. I test this distinction in the context of primary education provision across districts in Africa, the most diverse continent in the world. Using several data sources and specifications, I find that local ethnic diversity is robustly associated with teacher absenteeism only where ethnic identification is salient. I investigate potential causal pathways using data from school visits in Uganda, finding suggestive evidence that the effectiveness of parent teacher associations and the strength of social networks between teachers play important roles. The results indicate that the deleterious effects of ethnic diversity on the provision of public goods could be mitigates by policies that reduce ethnic salience.

Keywords: ethnic salience, policy, ethnic diversity, public goods, Africa, teachers, education, Uganda

Suggested Citation

McGuirk, Eoin, Public Goods and the Salience of Local Ethnic Diversity: The Case of Teacher Absenteeism in Africa (April 29, 2016). Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs Research Paper No. 2016-31. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2779542 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2779542

Eoin McGuirk (Contact Author)

Yale University ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8268
United States

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