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Land institutions and political ethnicity in Africa: evidence from Tanzania

Boone, Catherine ORCID: 0000-0001-5324-7814 and Nyeme, Lydia (2015) Land institutions and political ethnicity in Africa: evidence from Tanzania. Comparative Politics, 48 (1). 67 - 86. ISSN 0010-4159

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Identification Number: 10.5129/001041515816075123


Existing work on land politics in Africa suggests that governments, by creating and upholding neocustomary land tenure regimes, create powerful incentives for individuals to embrace state-recognized ethnic identities. This paper strengthens this argument about the institutional determinants of ethnicity's high political salience through the use of contrasting evidence from Tanzania. In Tanzania, non-neocustomary land tenure institutions prevail, and the political salience of ethnic identity is low. Even in a hard-test region of high in-migration and high competition for farmland, the political salience of ethnic identity in land politics is low. The findings suggest that political science needs to take seriously the role of state institutions in producing politically-salient ethnic identities in Africa.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The City University of New York
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 06 Oct 2014 14:03
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:19
Funders: Long Chair in Democratic Studies (University of Texas at Austin)

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