Collective action in diverse Sierra Leone communities

Type Journal Article - The Economic Journal
Title Collective action in diverse Sierra Leone communities
Volume 123
Issue 568
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 285-316
Scholars have pointed to ethnic divisions as a leading cause of underdevelopment, due
in part to their adverse effects on public goods. We investigate this issue in post-war Sierra
Leone, one of the world’s poorest countries. To address concerns over endogenous local ethnic
composition, we use an instrumental variables strategy relying on historical census data on ethnic
composition. We find that local diversity is not associated with worse public goods provision
across a variety of outcomes, specifications, and diversity measures, with precisely estimated
zeros. We investigate the role that leading mechanisms proposed in the literature play in
generating the findings.

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