Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/227799
Authors: 
Ghosh, Sugata
Mitra, Anirban
Year of Publication: 
2019
Series/Report no.: 
School of Economics Discussion Papers No. 1907
Publisher: 
University of Kent, School of Economics, Canterbury
Abstract: 
Do democracies discriminate less against minorities as compared to non-democracies? How does the dominance of an ethnic group affect discrimination under various political regimes? We build a theory which tries to answer such questions. In our model, political leaders (democratically elected or not) decide on the allocation of spending on different types of public goods: a general public good and an ethnically-targetable public good which benefits the majority ethnic group while imposing a cost on the other minorities. We show that, under democracy, lower ethnic dominance leads to greater provision of the general public good while higher dominance implies higher provision of the ethnically-targetable good. Interestingly, the opposite relation obtains under dictatorship. This implies that political regime changes can favour or disfavour minorities based on the ambient level of ethnic dominance. Several historical events involving regime changes can be analysed within our framework and are consistent with our results.
Subjects: 
Ethnic identities
Discrimination
Public spending
Political regimes
JEL: 
D72
D74
H40
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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