New Paper, The Value of Democracy: Evidence from Road Building in Kenya (American Economic Review, 2015)
Ethnic favoritism is seen as antithetical to development. This paper provides credible quanti cation 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.
Ted gave the keynote address at the 2015 Annual Bank Conference on Africa (ABCA), held at the University of California, Berkeley on June 8-10. He discussed the issue of conflict and economic development in Africa, with a particular focus on climate change, the role of ethnic divisions, and promising policy responses.