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Ethnic favouritism in Kenyan education reconsidered: when a picture is worth more than a thousand regressions

Simson, Rebecca and Green, Elliott ORCID: 0000-0002-0942-5756 (2020) Ethnic favouritism in Kenyan education reconsidered: when a picture is worth more than a thousand regressions. Journal of Modern African Studies, 58 (3). 425 - 460. ISSN 0022-278X

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Identification Number: 10.1017/S0022278X20000257


Does a leader's ethnicity affect the regional distribution of basic services such as education in Africa? Several influential studies have argued in the affirmative, by using educational attainment levels to show that children who share the ethnicity of the president during their school-aged years have higher attainment than their peers. In this paper we revisit this empirical evidence and show that it rests on problematic assumptions. Some models commonly used to test for favouritism do not take adequate account of educational convergence and once this is properly accounted for the results are found to be unstable. Using Kenya as a test case, we argue that there is no conclusive evidence of ethnic favouritism in primary or secondary education, but rather a process of educational convergence among the country's larger ethnic groups. This evidence matters, as it shapes how we understand the ethnic calculus of politicians.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2020 15:12
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2024 01:54

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