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American Economic Review: Vol. 101 No. 5 (August 2011)


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Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries

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Alesina, Alberto, and Ekaterina Zhuravskaya. 2011. "Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries." American Economic Review, 101(5): 1872-1911.

DOI: 10.1257/aer.101.5.1872


We provide a new compilation of data on ethnic, linguistic, and religious composition at the subnational level for a large number of countries. Using these data, we measure segregation of groups within the country. To overcome the endogeneity problem that arises because of mobility and endogenous internal borders, we construct an instrument for segregation. We find that more ethnically and linguistically segregated countries, i.e., those where groups live more spatially separately, have a lower quality of government; there is no relationship between religious segregation and governance. Trust is an important channel of influence; it is lower in more segregated countries. (JEL H11, H77, J15, O17, Z12, Z13)

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Alesina, Alberto (Harvard U)
Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina (Paris School of Economics and New School U)

JEL Classifications

H11: Structure, Scope, and Performance of Government
H77: Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism; Secession
J15: Economics of Minorities and Races; Non-labor Discrimination
O17: Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
Z12: Cultural Economics: Religion
Z13: Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Social and Economic Stratification

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