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Essays on the political economy of development
McGuirk, Eoin F.
THESIS 10144 The core of this thesis explores three issues at the intersection of political and development economics. In Chapter 2, I demonstrate how ethnic divisions can undermine the provision of an important public good: teacher attendance. In the presence of weak formal institutions- such as those found in many less developed countries -teachers face a lower likelihood of punishment for absenteeism. In these settings, other forms of local collective action are often required to produce public goods and to prevent free-riding. However, a growing literature has shown that local collective action outcomes are often adversely affected by ethnic divisions. I identify the impact of a new measure of ethnic divisions on teacher absenteeism using two datasets: one collected by the World Bank from random unannounced school visits in Uganda, and another collected from over 20,000 respondents to the Afrobarometer survey in 16 sub-Saharan African countries. I incorporate constructivist theories of ethnicity into the measure by allowing the effect of diversity to vary by the salience of ethnic identification in each district. I find that, at high levels of ethnic salience, a one standard deviation increase in ethnic diversity increases the observed absenteeism rate in Uganda by between 3.8 and 9.3 percentage points, or 0.08 and 0.21 standard deviations. In the multi-country survey data, the same change increases perceived absenteeism by 0.08 standard deviations. At low levels of ethnic salience, ethnic diversity has no positive effect on absenteeism in either dataset. I provide suggestive evidence that social capital in the form of within-school teacher networks, rather than community-level monitoring, may explain the findings. The results offer one explanation for why substantial recent investment in education does not seem to be leading to improved test-score outcomes for children in many ethnically diverse countries. The analysis also has implications for the measurement of ethnic divisions …
Keyword(s): Economics, Ph.D.; Ph.D. Trinity College Dublin.
Publication Date:
Type: Doctoral thesis
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: Trinity College Dublin
Citation(s): Eoin F. McGuirk, 'Essays on the political economy of development', [thesis], Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of Economics, 2013, pp 161
Publisher(s): Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland). Department of Economics
Supervisor(s): Vicente, Pedro
First Indexed: 2019-11-09 06:59:07 Last Updated: 2020-07-28 08:13:06