Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

The politics of ethnic identity in Sub-Saharan Africa

Green, Elliott D. ORCID: 0000-0002-0942-5756 (2021) The politics of ethnic identity in Sub-Saharan Africa. Comparative Political Studies, 54 (7). 1197 - 1226. ISSN 0010-4140

[img] Text (The politics of ethnic identity in Sub-Saharan Africa) - Accepted Version
Download (386kB)

Identification Number: 10.1177/0010414020970223


Recent literature suggests that African Presidents tend to target co-ethnics with patronage, especially in non-democracies. Coupled with evidence on the role of incentives in driving ethnic identity change, I propose that a change in the ethnic identity of the President should lead to an increase in the proportion of people identifying with the President’s ethnic group. I use survey data from fourteen African countries with Presidential transitions to show that ethnic Presidential change leads to an upwards shift in the percentage of respondents identifying with the new ruling ethnic group in non-democracies, and that this shift increases with the level of autocracy. I also show that countries where citizens perceive more ethnic favoritism see higher levels of ethnic switching. Within-survey evidence from Zambia demonstrates that this shift is immediate, and case study evidence from early modern China suggests that this phenomenon is not limited to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Author
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2020 15:18
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2022 08:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics