Recent literature on ethnic favouritism suggests that Presidents tend to target co-ethnics with patronage, especially in non-democracies. Coupled with evidence on the role of incentives in driving ethnic identity change, I propose that a change in the ethnic identity of presidents in non-democracies should lead to ethnic switching among citizens towards the new ruling ethnic group. Using Demographic and Health Survey data from thirteen African countries, I show that change in the ethnic identity of the President leads to a shift of women identifying with the new ruling ethnic group of around 1.5% of the population in non-democracies, or on average 10% of the President's ethnic group. This relationship is robust to the use of a variety of control variables and different specifications as well as the use of qualitative case study evidence from Ghana and Guinea; I also suggest it may be an underestimate due to data limitations.
Africa Ethnicity Ethnic Identity Democratization Ethno-Regional Favouritism DHS Data