Ethnicity and Development

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This article examines whether ethnicity, or more specifically ethnic diversity, undermines development. After explaining the nature of ethnicity, ethnic identity, and ethnic groups, it considers whether public goods are less likely to be provided in more ethnically politicized areas and whether ethnic politics leads governments to adopt economically unproductive policies. It also investigates the relationship between neo-patrimonialism, winner-takes-all politics, and development policy. More specifically, the article evaluates the possibility that the politicization of identities and poor economic performance are both manifestations of weak institutions and strong social structures. Finally, it analyzes how ethnicity can best be managed and suggests that communal identities can be disentangled from development by making political institutions inclusive and promoting social interaction between different communities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Politics of Development
EditorsNicolas van de Walle, Carol Lancaster
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • ethnicity
  • ethnic diversity
  • development
  • ethnic identity
  • ethnic groups
  • public goods
  • ethnic politics
  • neo-patrimonialism
  • development policy
  • politicization


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