Ethnic diversity has been shown to have signicant, negative eects on the provision of basic public goods, in both developed and developing countries. However, the mechanism underlying this relationship is not fully understood. Two basic theories are drawn from the literature and incorporated within a single model, allowing for the derivation of key dierences in their empirical predictions. The critical dierence between models of dierential demand and those of collective action problems lies in the distribution of public good provision across households. Using the DHS survey from 15 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, covering over 100,000 households, I am able to test for the presence of aggregate eects of ethnic diversity and the distributional consequences. The results suggest that local ethnic diversity plays a critical role in limiting the provision of piped water in Sub-Saharan Africa, and that the mechanism behind this eect is ineective local governance.