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The value of democracy: evidence from road building in Kenya

Burgess, Robin, Jedwab, Remi, Miguel, Edward, Morjaria, Ameet and Padró i Miquel, Gerard (2015) The value of democracy: evidence from road building in Kenya. American Economic Review, 105 (6). pp. 1817-1851. ISSN 0002-8282

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Identification Number: 10.1257/aer.20131031


Ethnic favoritism is seen as antithetical to development. This paper provides credible quantification of the extent of ethnic favoritism using data on road building in Kenyan districts across the 1963–2011 period. Guided by a model it then examines whether the transition in and out of democracy under the same president constrains or exacerbates ethnic favoritism. Across the post-independence period, we find strong evidence of ethnic favoritism: districts that share the ethnicity of the president receive twice as much expenditure on roads and have five times the length of paved roads built. This favoritism disappears during periods of democracy.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 American Economic Association
Divisions: Economics
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
JEL classification: D - Microeconomics > D7 - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making > D72 - Economic Models of Political Processes: Rent-Seeking, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
H - Public Economics > H5 - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies > H54 - Infrastructures; Other Public Investment and Capital Stock
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J15 - Economics of Minorities and Races; Non-labor Discrimination
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O15 - Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O1 - Economic Development > O17 - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements: Legal, Social, Economic, and Political
O - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth > O2 - Development Planning and Policy > O22 - Project Analysis
R - Urban, Rural, and Regional Economics > R4 - Transportation Systems > R42 - Government and Private Investment Analysis
Date Deposited: 14 May 2015 15:56
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2024 07:12
Projects: 283837
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Department for International Development (DFID), iiG: Improving Institutions for Growth, International Growth Centre, European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP/2007-2013), European Research Council

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