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Coalition-Building and Distributive Politics in Africa

LEE, Dongil

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Abstract

How does ethnicity shape distributive politics in Africa? While previous studies show considerable variation in ethnic favoritism across African countries, it is unclear which factors moderate rulers’ resource allocation strategies. In this paper, I propose a game-theoretic account of leaders’ coalition-building to explain the conditions under which top leaders choose ethnic favoritism rather than an ethnic balancing strategy. By doing so, I identify four key variables and review past studies in light of the model’s predictions. I argue that explaining heterogeneity in ethnic favoritism can be done best by examining leader-level variables and that previous studies yield mixed results due to their focus on country-level factors, such as economic development. This paper calls for more attention to the role of political elites in ethnic politics.

Issue Date
2023-12
Publisher
KDI School of Public Policy and Management
Pages
20
Series Title
KDIS Working Paper 23-10
URI
https://archives.kdischool.ac.kr/handle/11125/52957
URL
https://ssrn.com/abstract=4702294
DOI
http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4702294
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