Hostname: page-component-7d8f8d645b-9fg92 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-05-29T13:48:30.342Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

Ethnic Segregation and Public Goods: Evidence from Indonesia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 March 2018

Georgetown University
University of California, San Diego
University of British Columbia
Yuhki Tajima is an Assistant Professor, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, 3700 O St. NW, Washington, DC 20057 (
Krislert Samphantharak is an Associate Professor, School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093 (
Kai Ostwald is an Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy & Global Affairs and Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia, C.K. Choi Bldg #224, 1855 West Mall, Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Z2 (


This article contributes to the study of ethnic diversity and public goods provision by assessing the role of the spatial distribution of ethnic groups. Through a new theory that we call spatial interdependence, we argue that the segregation of ethnic groups can reduce or even neutralize the “diversity penalty” in public goods provision that results from ethnic fractionalization. This is because local segregation allows communities to use disparities in the level of public goods compared with other communities as leverage when advocating for more public goods for themselves, thereby ratcheting up the level of public goods across communities. We test this prediction on highly disaggregated data from Indonesia and find strong support that, controlling for ethnic fractionalization, segregated communities have higher levels of public goods. This has an important and underexplored implication: decentralization disadvantages integrated communities vis-à-vis their more segregated counterparts.

Research Article
Copyright © American Political Science Association 2018 

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.)


We thank participants at the Georgetown Political Economy Workshop, Bank of Thailand Workshop, Diana Kim, Irfan Nooruddin, Erik Voeten, six anonymous referees, and the editors of the APSR for helpful comments and discussion. We are grateful for funding from the Pacific Rim Research Program and the Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation. All errors are our own. Replication files can be found on the American Political Science Review Dataverse:



Alesina, Alberto, Baqir, Reza, and Easterly, William. 1999. “Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 114 (4): 1243–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alesina, Alberto, and Zhuravskaya, Ekaterina. 2011. “Segregation and the Quality of Government in a Cross Section of Countries.” American Economic Review 101 (5): 1872–911.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Antlöv, Hans. 1994. “Village Leaders and the New Order.” In Leadership on Java: Gentle Hints, Authoritarian Rule. eds. Antlöv, Hans and Cederroth, Sven. Richmond, UK: Curzon Press.Google Scholar
Azam, Jean-Paul. 2001. “The Redistributive State and Conflicts in Africa.” Journal of Peace Research 38 (4): 429–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baldwin, Kate, and Huber, John D.. 2010. “Economic versus Cultural Differences: Forms of Ethnic Diversity and Public Goods Provision.” American Political Science Review, 104 (4): 644–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Banerjee, Abhijit, Iyer, Lakshmi, and Somanathan, Rohini, 2005, “History, Social Divisions and Public Goods in Rural India.” Journal of the European Economic Association 3: 639–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bates, Robert H. 1974. “Ethnic Competition and Modernization in Contemporary Africa.” Comparative Political Studies 6 (4): 457–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Duflo, Esther. 2001. “Schooling and Labor Market Consequences of School Construction in Indonesia: Evidence from an Unusual Policy Experiment.” American Economic Review 91 (4): 795813.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Easterly, William, and Levine, Ross. 1997. “Africa’s Growth Tragedy: Policies and Ethnic Divisions.” The Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 (4): 1203–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ejdemyr, Simon, Kramon, Eric, and Robinson, Amanda Lea. 2017. “Segregation, Ethnic Favoritism, and the Strategic Targeting of Local Public Goods.” Comparative Political Studies. Online First.Google Scholar
Galizia, Michele. 1996. “Village Institutions after the Law No. 5/1979 on Village Administration. The Case of Rejang-Lebong in South-Western Sumatra.” Archipel 51 (1): 135–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gelman, Andrew. 2008. “Scaling Regression Inputs by Dividing by Two Standard Deviations.” Statistics in Medicine 27 (15): 2865–73.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Goodman, Leo A., and Kruskal, William H.. 1954. “Measures of Association for Cross Classifications.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 49 (268): 732–64.Google Scholar
Gordon, Raymond G. Jr., ed. 2005. Ethnologue: Languages of the World. 15th ed. Dallas, TX: SIL International. Scholar
Habyarimana, James, Humphreys, Macartan, Posner, Daniel, and Weinstein, Jeremy. 2007. “Why Does Ethnic Diversity Undermine Public Goods Provision?American Political Science Review 101 (4): 709–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hoshour, Cathy Ann. 2000. Relocating Development in Indonesia: A Look at the Logic and Contradictions of State Directed Resettlement. PhD thesis, Harvard University, Cambridge.Google Scholar
Kasara, Kimuli. 2013. “Separate and Suspicious: Local Social and Political Context and Ethnic Tolerance in Kenya.” Journal of Politics 75 (4): 921–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Khwaja, Asim Ijaz. 2009. “Can Good Projects Succeed in Bad Communities?Journal of Public Economics 93 (7–8): 899916.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kramon, Eric, and Posner, Daniel N.. 2013. “Who Benefits from Distributive Politics? How the Outcomes One Studies Affect the Answer One Gets.” Perspectives on Politics 11 (2): 461–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
La Ferrara, Eliana, and Mele, Angelo. 2006. Racial Segregation and Public School Expenditure. London: Centre for Economic Policy Research. Scholar
MacAndrews, Colin, ed. 1986. Central Government and Local Development in Indonesia. Singapore: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Martinez-Bravo, Monica. 2014. “The Role of Local Officials in New Democracies: Evidence From Indonesia.” American Economic Review 104 (4): 1244–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miguel, Edward, and Gugerty, Mary Kay. 2005. “Ethnic Diversity, Social Sanctions, and Public Goods in Kenya.” Journal of Public Economics 89 (11-12): 2325–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oliver, Eric. 2010. The Paradoxes of Integration: Race, Neighborhood, and Civic Life in Multiethnic America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oster, Emily. 2016. “Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability: Theory and Evidence.” Journal of Business and Economic Statistics. Online First. Scholar
Ostwald, Kai, Tajima, Yuhki, and Samphantharak, Krislert. 2016. “Indonesia’s Decentralization Experiment: Motivations, Successes, and Unintended Consequences.” Journal of Southeast Asian Economies 33 (2): 139–56.Google Scholar
Pepinsky, Thomas, and Wihardja, Maria. 2011. “Decentralization and Economic Performance in Indonesia.Journal of East Asian Studies 11: 337–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pierskalla, Jan H. 2014. “Splitting the Difference? The Politics of District Creation in Indonesia.” Comparative Politics 48 (2): 249–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rasyid, Muhammad Yunus. 1982. “Farmers’ Participation in Rural Development Programs, Municipalities of Samarinda, East Kalimantan, Indonesia.” LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 3819. Scholar
Ravallion, Martin. 1988. “Inpres and Inequality. A Distributional Perspective on the Centre’s Regional Disbursements.” Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies 24 (3): 5372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Scott, James C. 2009. The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google ScholarPubMed
Shah, Anwar, et al. 1994. “Intergovernmental Fiscal Relations in Indonesia: Issues and Reform Options.” World Bank Discussion Papers, 239. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
Slater, Dan. 2008. “Can Leviathan Be Democratic? Competitive Elections, Robust Mass Politics, and State Infrastructural Power.” Studies in Comparative International Development 43 (3–4): 252–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tajima, Yuhki. 2014. The Institutional Origins of Communal Violence: Indonesia’s Transition from Authoritarian Rule. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Trounstine, Jessica. 2016. “Segregation and Inequality in Public Goods.” American Journal of Political Science 60 (3): 709–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tuerah, Noldy. 1998. Rural-Urban Linkages and Development: A Case Study of North Sulawesi, Indonesia. PhD thesis, Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of British Columbia.Google Scholar
Wilkinson, Steven I. 2004. Votes and Violence: Electoral Competition and Ethnic Riots in India. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
World Bank. 1990. “Indonesia: Strategy for a Sustained Reduction in Poverty.” World Bank Country Study. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Tajima et al. supplementary material


Download Tajima et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 377 KB
Supplementary material: Link

Tajima et al. Dataset