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GIGA Seminar in Socio-Economics

Ethnofederalism and Ethnic Voting: Evidence from Kenya







    We investigate how ethnic voting reacts to changes in the administrative-territorial structure in diverse countries. Both 'ethnofederal' structures, where administrative borders follow ethnic boundaries, and 'crosscutting' structures, where administrative borders divide ethnic homelands, have been proposed as policy instruments that may reduce the importance of ethnicity in national politics.

    Exploiting the 2010 constitutional reform in Kenya together with survey data and an event study design of voting intentions, we test these theories and show that ethnic voting decreases among co-ethnics for which the reform decreases local diversity. We only find limited evidence in favor of an effect of changes in the fragmentation of groups across administrative units. Taken together, our results suggest that creating homogenous administrative regions with sufficient political power reduces the costs of not voting for a co-ethnic candidate in national elections and matters more than uniting (most) ethnic kin in the same administrative region.

    Authors: Richard Bluhm (Leibniz University Hannover) Roland Hodler (University of St. Gallen) Paul Schaudt (University of St. Gallen)

    Speaker: Dr. Richard Bluhm is assistant professor at Leibniz University Hannover.

    Please note that the seminar will take place via Microsoft Teams. If you like to participate in the seminar, please send an email beforehand to: jan.priebe@giga-hamburg.de. Upon registration you will receive an email invite including the Microsoft Teams link.

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