Hostname: page-component-5db6c4db9b-s6gjx Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-03-24T01:36:32.071Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

When Coethnicity Fails

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 February 2022

Giuliana Pardelli
New York University Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Alexander Kustov*
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Get access


Why do communities with larger shares of ethnic and racial minorities have worse public goods provision? Many studies have emphasized the role of diversity in hindering public outcomes, but the question of causality remains elusive. The authors contribute to this debate by tracing the roots of both contemporary racial demography and public goods provision to the uneven historical expansion of the state. Focusing on new historical data from Brazil, the authors show that more remote municipalities with lower levels of state capacity in the past were more frequently selected by escaped slaves to serve as permanent settlements. Consequently, such municipalities have worse public services and larger shares of Afro-descendants today. These results highlight the pervasive endogeneity of the relationship between ethnic demography and public outcomes. The failure to account for context-dependent historical confounders raises concerns about the validity of previous findings regarding the social costs and benefits of any particular demographic composition.

Research Article
Copyright © 2022 Trustees of Princeton University

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Abascal, Maria, and Baldassarri, Delia. 2015. “Love Thy Neighbor? Ethnoracial Diversity and Trust Reexamined.” American Journal of Sociology 121, no. 3: 722–82. At ScholarPubMed
Acharya, Avidit, Blackwell, Matthew, and Sen, Maya. 2016. “The Political Legacy of American Slavery.” Journal of Politics 78, no. 3: 621–41. At Scholar
Alesina, Alberto, Baqir, Reza, and Easterly, William. 1999. “Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 114, no 4: 1243–84. At Scholar
Alesina, Alberto, and Ferrara, Eliana La. 2002. “Who Trusts Others?” Journal of Public Economics 85, no. 2: 207–34. At Scholar
Alesina, Alberto, and Ferrara, Eliana La. 2005. “Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance.” Journal of Economic Literature 43, no. 3: 762800. At Scholar
Algan, Yann, Hémet, Camille, and Laitin, David D.. 2016. “The Social Effects of Ethnic Diversity at the Local Level: A Natural Experiment with Exogenous Residential Allocation.” Journal of Political Economy 124, no. 3: 696733. At Scholar
Andrews, George Reid. 1991. Blacks and Whites in São Paulo, Brazil, 1888–1988. Madison, Wis.: University of Wisconsin Press.Google Scholar
Becker, Sascha O., Boeckh, Katrin, Hainz, Christa, and Woessmann, Ludger. 2016. “The Empire Is Dead, Long Live the Empire! Long-Run Persistence of Trust and Corruption in the Bureaucracy.” Economic Journal 126, no. 590: 4074. At Scholar
Bennett, Andrew, and Elman, Colin. 2006. “Complex Causal Relations and Case Study Methods: The Example of Path Dependence.” Political Analysis 14, no. 3: 250–67. At Scholar
Bethell, Leslie, ed. 1984. The Cambridge History of Latin America, vol. 2: Colonial Latin America. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Beyer, Jürgen. 2010. “The Same or Not the Same—on the Variety of Mechanisms of Path Dependence.” International Journal of Social Sciences 5, no. 1: 111. At, accessed December 9, 2021.Google Scholar
Carlitz, Ruth D. 2019. “Who Gets What—and How Efficiently? Assessing the Spatial Allocation of Public Goods.Research & Politics 6, no. 3. At Scholar
Centeno, Miguel A., Kohli, Atul, and Yashar, Deborah J.. 2017. States in the Developing World. With Dinsha Mistree. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chandra, Kanchan. 2006. “What Is Ethnic Identity and Does It Matter?Annual Review of Political Science 9: 397424. At Scholar
Charnysh, Volha. 2019. “Diversity, Institutions, and Economic Outcomes: Post-WWII Displacement in Poland.” American Political Science Review 113, no. 2: 423–41. At Scholar
Charron, Nicholas, Dahlström, Carl, and Lapuente, Victor. 2012. “No Law without a State.” Journal of Comparative Economics 40, no. 2: 176–93. At Scholar
Cruz, Cesi, Labonne, Julien, and Querubín, Pablo. 2020. “Social Network Structures and the Politics of Public Goods Provision: Evidence from the Philippines.” American Political Science Review 114, no. 2: 486501. At Scholar
Latinobarómetro, Corporación. 2005. Informes Latinobarómetro 2005. Santiago, Chile: Corporación Latinobarómetro.Google Scholar
Cyr, Jennifer, and Mahoney, James. 2012. “The Enduring Influence of Historical-Structural Approaches.” In Kingstone, Peter and Yashar, Deborah J., eds., Routledge Handbook of Latin American Politics. New York, N.Y.: Routledge.Google Scholar
D'Arcy, Michelle, and Nistotskaya, Marina. 2017. “State First, Then Democracy: Using Cadastral Records to Explain Governmental Performance in Public Goods Provision.” Governance 30, no. 2: 193209. At Scholar
D'Arcy, Michelle, and Nistotskaya, Marina. 2018. “The Early Modern Origins of Contemporary European Tax Outcomes.” European Journal of Political Research 57, no. 1: 4767. At Scholar
Dell, Melissa, and Olken, Benjamin A.. 2020. “The Development Effects of the Extractive Colonial Economy: The Dutch Cultivation System in Java.” Review of Economic Studies 87, no. 1: 164203. At Scholar
Dincecco, Mark. 2017. State Capacity and Economic Development: Present and Past. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dinesen, Peter Thisted, Schaeffer, Merlin, and Oslashnderskov, Kim Mannemar. 2020. “Ethnic Diversity and Social Trust: A Narrative and Meta-Analytical Review.” Annual Review of Political Science 23: 441–65. At Scholar
Easterly, William, Ritzen, Jozef, and Woolcock, Michael. 2006. “Social Cohesion, Institutions, and Growth.” Economics and Politics 18, no. 2: 103–20. At Scholar
Ehrl, Philipp. 2017. “Minimum Comparable Areas for the Period 1872–2010: An Aggregation of Brazilian Municipalities.” Estudos Econômicos 47, no. 1: 215–29. At Scholar
Fergusson, Leopoldo, Arbesu, Horacio Larreguy, and Riaño, Juan. 2020. “Political Competition and State Capacity: Evidence from a Land Allocation Program in Mexico.” Documento CEDE no. 16. At Scholar
Fieldhouse, Edward, and Cutts, David. 2010. “Does Diversity Damage Social Capital? A Comparative Study of Neighbourhood Diversity and Social Capital in the US and Britain.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 43, no. 2: 289318. At Scholar
Foa, Roberto S., and Nemirovskaya, Anna. 2016. “How State Capacity Varies within Frontier States: A Multicountry Subnational Analysis.” Governance 29, no. 3: 411–32. At Scholar
Gerring, John, Thacker, Strom C., Lu, Yuan, and Huang, Wei. 2015. “Does Diversity Impair Human Development? A Multi-Level Test of the Diversity Debit Hypothesis.” World Development 66: 166–88. At Scholar
Giraudy, Agustina. 2012. “Conceptualizing State Strength: Moving Beyond Strong and Weak States.” Revista De Ciencia Política 32, no. 3: 599611. At Scholar
Gisselquist, Rachel M. 2014. “Ethnic Divisions and Public Goods Provision, Revisited.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 37, no. 9: 1605–27. At Scholar
Gomes, Flávio dos Santos. 2004. “Slavery, Black Peasants and Post-Emancipation Society in Brazil (Nineteenth Century Rio de Janeiro).Social Identities 10, no. 6: 735–56. At Scholar
Gottlieb, Jessica. 2021. “Keeping the State Weak to Prevent Programmatic Claim-Making in Young Democracies.” Manuscript. Texas A&M University. At, accessed December 9, 2021.Google Scholar
Gottlieb, Jessica, and Hollenbach, Florian M.. 2021. “When the Social Contract Breaks: Fiscal Capacity Moderates the Link between Taxation and Voting.” Manuscript. Texas A&M University. At, accessed December 9, 2021.Google Scholar
Habyarimana, James, Humphreys, Macartan, Posner, Daniel N., and Weinstein, Jeremy M.. 2007. “Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision?” American Political Science Review 101, no. 4: 709–25. At Scholar
Habyarimana, James, Humphreys, Macartan, Posner, Daniel N., and Weinstein, Jeremy M.. 2009. Coethnicity: Diversity and the Dilemmas of Collective Action. New York, N.Y.: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
Hanson, Jonathan K., and Sigman, Rachel. 2021. “Leviathan's Latent Dimensions: Measuring State Capacity for Comparative Political Research.” Journal of Politics 83, no. 4: 14951510. At Scholar
Hendrix, Cullen S. 2010. “Measuring State Capacity: Theoretical and Empirical Implications for the Study of Civil Conflict.” Journal of Peace Research 47, no. 3: 273–85. At Scholar
Herbst, Jeffrey 2000. States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Hill, Seth J., Hopkins, Daniel J., and Huber, Gregory A.. 2019. “Local Demographic Changes and US Presidential Voting, 2012 to 2016.” PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 116, no. 50: 25023–28. At ScholarPubMed
Jensen, Jeffrey L., and Ramey, Adam J.. 2020. “Early Investments in State Capacity Promote Persistently Higher Levels of Social Capital.PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 117, no. 20: 10755–61. At ScholarPubMed
Kelly, Morgan. 2019. “The Standard Errors of Persistence.” Manuscript. University College Dublin. At Scholar
Klein, Herbert S., and Luna, Francisco Vidal. 2009. Slavery in Brazil. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kleven, Henrik, Landais, Camille, Muñoz, Mathilde, and Stantcheva, Stefanie. 2020. “Taxation and Migration: Evidence and Policy Implications.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 34, no. 2: 119–42. At Scholar
Kramon, Eric, and Posner, Daniel N.. 2013. “Who Benefits from Distributive Politics? How the Outcome One Studies Affects the Answer One Gets.” Perspectives on Politics 11, no. 2: 461–74. At Scholar
Kruks-Wisner, Gabrielle. 2018. “The Pursuit of Social Welfare: Citizen Claim-Making in Rural India.” World Politics 70, no. 1 (January): 122–63. At Scholar
Kustov, Alexander. 2019. “Is There a Backlash against Immigration from Richer Countries? International Hierarchy and the Limits of Group Threat.” Political Psychology 40, no. 5: 9731000. At Scholar
Kustov, Alexander. 2021. “Borders of Compassion: Immigration Preferences and Parochial Altruism.” Comparative Political Studies 54, no. 3–4: 445–81. At Scholar
Kustov, Alexander, and Pardelli, Giuliana. 2018. “Ethnoracial Homogeneity and Public Outcomes: The (Non)effects of Diversity.” American Political Science Review 112, no. 4: 1096–103. At Scholar
Larson, Brooke. 2004. Trials of Nation Making: Liberalism, Race, and Ethnicity in the Andes, 1810–1910. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lee, Alexander. 2018. “Ethnic Diversity and Ethnic Discrimination: Explaining Local Public Goods Provision.” Comparative Political Studies 51, no. 10: 1351–83. At Scholar
Lieberman, Evan S. 2003. Race and Regionalism in the Politics of Taxation in Brazil and South Africa. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lieberman, Evan S., and McClendon, Gwyneth H.. 2013. “The Ethnicity–Policy Preference Link in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Comparative Political Studies 46, no. 5: 574602. At Scholar
Loveman, Mara, Muniz, Jeronimo O., and Bailey, Stanley R.. 2012. “Brazil in Black and White? Race Categories, the Census, and the Study of Inequality.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 35, no. 8: 1466–83. At Scholar
Lyons, Colleen M. Scanlan. 2011. “Spaces of Silence and Efforts toward Voice: Negotiation and Power among ‘Quilombo’ Communities in Southern Bahia Brazil.” Afro-Hispanic Review 30, no. 2: 115–32. At Scholar
Magno de Carvalho, José Alberto, Wood, Charles H., and Drumond Andrade, Flávia Cristina. 2004. “Estimating the Stability of Census-Based Racial/Ethnic Classifications: The Case of Brazil.” Population Studies 58, no. 3: 331–43. At Scholar
Mann, Michael. 1984. “The Autonomous Power of the State: Its Origins, Mechanisms and Results.” European Journal of Sociology 25, no. 2: 185213. At Scholar
Martin, Lucy. 2016. “Taxation, Loss Aversion, and Accountability: Theory and Experimental Evidence for Taxation's Effect on Citizen Behavior.” Innovations for Poverty Action Working Paper. New York, N.Y.: Innovations for Poverty Action. At, accessed December 9, 2021.Google Scholar
McNamee, Lachlan, and Zhang, Anna. 2019. “Demographic Engineering and International Conflict: Evidence from China and the Former USSR.” International Organization 73, no. 2: 291327. At Scholar
Michalopoulos, Stelios. 2012. “The Origins of Ethnolinguistic Diversity.” American Economic Review 102, no. 4: 1508–39. At ScholarPubMed
Moura, Clóvis. 2001. Os quilombos na dinâmica social do Brasil. Maceió, Brazil: EdUFAL.Google Scholar
Naritomi, Joana, Soares, Rodrigo R., and Assunção, Juliano J.. 2012. “Institutional Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil.” Journal of Economic History 72, no. 2: 393422. At Scholar
Nobles, Melissa. 2000. Shades of Citizenship: Race and the Census in Modern Politics. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nunn, Nathan. 2008. “Slavery, Inequality, and Economic Development in the Americas: An Examination of the Engerman-Sokoloff Hypothesis.” In Helpman, Elhanan, ed., Institutions and Economic Performance. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
Paler, Laura. 2013. “Keeping the Public Purse: An Experiment in Windfalls, Taxes, and the Incentives to Restrain Government.” American Political Science Review 107, no. 4: 706–25. At Scholar
Pardelli, Giuliana. 2019. “Financing the State: Inequality and Fiscal Capacity in Uneven Territories.” Ph.D. diss., Princeton University.Google Scholar
Pardelli, Giuliana, and Kustov, Alexander. 2022. “Replication files for: When Coethnicity Fails.” Harvard Dataverse, V1. At Scholar
Pepinsky, Thomas B., Goodman, Sara Wallace, and Ziller, Conrad. 2020. “Does Proximity to Nazi Concentration Camps Make Germans Intolerant? Modeling Spatial Heterogeneity and Historical Persistence.” Manuscript. Cornell University, University of California, Irvine, and University of Duisburg-Essen. At Scholar
Pierson, Paul. 2004. Politics in Time: History, Institutions, and Social Analysis. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Portes, Alejandro, and Vickstrom, Erik. 2011. “Diversity, Social Capital, and Cohesion.” Annual Review of Sociology 37: 461–79. At Scholar
Posner, Daniel N. 2004. “The Political Salience of Cultural Difference: Why Chewas and Tumbukas Are Allies in Zambia and Adversaries in Malawi.” American Political Science Review 98, no. 4: 529–45. At Scholar
Ramcharan, Rodney. 2010. “Inequality and Redistribution: Evidence from US Counties and States, 1890–1930.” Review of Economics and Statistics 92, no. 4: 729–44. At Scholar
Reis, João José. 1996. “Quilombos e revoltas escravas no Brasil.” Revista USP, no. 28: 1439. At Scholar
Rosenberg, Andrew S. 2019. “Measuring Racial Bias in International Migration Flows.” International Studies Quarterly 63, no. 4: 837–45. At Scholar
Rushton, Michael. 2008. “A Note on the Use and Misuse of the Racial Diversity Index.” Policy Studies Journal 36, no. 3: 445–59. At Scholar
Schwartz, Stuart B. 1992. Slaves, Peasants, and Rebels: Reconsidering Brazilian Slavery. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press.Google Scholar
Scott, James C. 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press.Google ScholarPubMed
Singh, Prerna, and vom Hau, Matthias. 2016. “Ethnicity in Time: Politics, History, and the Relationship between Ethnic Diversity and Public Goods Provision.” Comparative Political Studies 49, no. 10: 1303–40. At Scholar
Soifer, Hillel. 2008. “State Infrastructural Power: Approaches to Conceptualization and Measurement.” Studies in Comparative International Development 43, no. 3–4: 231–51. At Scholar
Stewart, Frances. 2005. “Horizontal Inequalities: A Neglected Dimension of Development.” In UNU-WIDER, ed., Wider Perspectives on Global Development. New York, N.Y.: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
Stichnoth, Holger, and Van der Straeten, Karine. 2013. “Ethnic Diversity, Public Spending, and Individual Support for the Welfare State: A Review of the Empirical Literature.” Journal of Economic Surveys 27, no. 2: 364–89. At Scholar
Stolle, Dietlind, Soroka, Stuart, and Johnston, Richard. 2008. “When Does Diversity Erode Trust? Neighborhood Diversity, Interpersonal Trust and the Mediating Effect of Social Interactions.” Political Studies 56, no. 1: 5775. At Scholar
Suryanarayan, Pavithra, and White, Steven. 2021. “Slavery, Reconstruction, and Bureaucratic Capacity in the American South.” American Political Science Review 115, no. 2: 568–84. At Scholar
Telles, Edward E. 2002. “Racial Ambiguity among the Brazilian Population.” Ethnic and Racial Studies 25, no. 3: 415–41. At Scholar
Telles, Edward E. 2014. Pigmentocracies: Ethnicity, Race, and Color in Latin America. Chapel Hill, N.C.: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
Tilly, Charles. 1975. “Reflections on the History of European State-Making.” In Tilly, Charles, ed., The Formation of National States in Western Europe. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
Tilly, Charles. 1999. Durable Inequality. Berkeley, Calif.: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Trounstine, Jessica. 2018. Segregation by Design: Local Politics and Inequality in American Cities. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Vergne, Jean Philippe, and Durand, Rodolphe. 2010. “The Missing Link between the Theory and Empirics of Path Dependence: Conceptual Clarification, Testability Issue, and Methodological Implications.” Journal of Management Studies 47, no. 4: 736–59. At Scholar
Wade, Peter. 1995. Blackness and Race Mixture: The Dynamics of Racial Identity in Colombia. Baltimore, Md.: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Weiss, D. J., Nelson, A., Gibson, H. S., Temperley, W., Peedell, S., Lieber, A., Hancher, M., Poyart, E., Belchior, S., Fullman, N., Mappin, B., Dalrymple, U., Rozier, J., Lucas, T. C. D., Howes, R. E., Tusting, L. S., Kang, S. Y., Cameron, E., Bisanzio, D., Battle, K. E., Bhatt, S., and Gething, P. W.. 2018. “A Global Map of Travel Time to Cities to Assess Inequalities in Accessibility in 2015.” Nature 553, no. 7688: 333–36. At ScholarPubMed
Wightman, Ann M. 1990. Indigenous Migration and Social Change: The Forasteros of Cuzco, 1570–1720. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
Wimmer, Andreas. 2016. “Is Diversity Detrimental? Ethnic Fractionalization, Public Goods Provision, and the Historical Legacies of Stateness.” Comparative Political Studies 49, no. 11: 1407–45. At Scholar
Yashar, Deborah J. 2005. Contesting Citizenship in Latin America: The Rise of Indigenous Movements and the Postliberal Challenge. New York, N.Y.: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Supplementary material: Link

Pardelli and Kustov Dataset

Supplementary material: PDF

Pardelli and Kustov supplementary material

Appendices A-E

Download Pardelli and Kustov supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 588 KB