Lachlan McNamee is a first-year PhD student in political science at Stanford. McNamee is originally from Melbourne, Australia and has a BA in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of Oxford and an MPhil in Economics from the University of Cambridge. His research interests include institutional development, ethnic politics and rural land reform with regional interests in Southern Africa and China. He speaks English and Mandarin.
Why do ethnically divided areas, understood as those that are both ethnically heterogeneous and where ethnicity is politically salient, have low public goods provision? This paper provides the first robust evidence that, holding ethnic heterogeneity constant, communal land tenure plays an important role in fostering ethnic divisions. It also explicitly links ethnic division to a reduction in incentives for political actors to provide public goods relative to targetable private transfers. In providing evidence for the proposed causal mechanisms, this paper uses a regression discontinuity design that exploits persistence in colonial differences in land tenure regime in Namibia as a means of providing plausibly exogenous within-country variation in ethnic division.