Giacomo De Luca, Roland Holder, Paul Raschky, Michele Valsecchi, 21 July 2016

Ethnic favouritism is widely regarded as an African phenomenon, or at most a problem of poor and weakly institutionalised countries. This column uses data on night-time light intensity to challenge these preconceptions. Ethnic favouritism is found to be as prevalent outside of Africa as it is within, and not restricted to poor or autocratic nations either. Rather, re-election concerns appear to be an important driver of the practice.

Roland Holder, Paul Raschky, 28 May 2014

Political leaders sometimes favour their preferred regions. This column looks at regional favouritism in a large sample of countries, using information on the birthplaces of political leaders and nighttime light intensity. Being the current leader's birth region increases nighttime light intensity by around 4%, and GDP by around 1%. Such favouritism is most prevalent in countries with weak political institutions and poorly educated citizens.

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