Is language destiny? The origins and consequences of ethnolinguistic diversity in sub-saharan Africa

Brandon de la Cuesta, Leonard Wantchekon

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


The economic and political effects of linguistic diversity have been the subject of scholarly research in both political science and economics for over a halfcentury, and many of the literature’s seminal entries are case studies of the African continent. Early entries in political science (e.g. Fishman, 1968; Pool, 1972; Bates, 1974; Horowitz, 1985; Horowitz, 1991) and in economics (e.g. Esteban and Ray, 1994; Easterly and Levine, 1997; Sachs and Warner, 1997) set the tone for much of the research that followed, focusing on the ways in which the high levels of both ethnic and linguistic diversity in Africa, aided in part by the arbitrary nature of national boundaries in the wake of colonization, have reduced growth and contributed to political instability. Africa-centric studies of linguistic diversity have also played an integral part in informing broader literatures, particularly those related to the political economy of diversity and ethnic conflict (see e.g. Alesina et al., 1999; Alesina et al., 2003; Ahlerup and Olsson, 2011; Caselli and Coleman II, 2013; Alesina et al., 2015).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Economics and Language
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781137325051
ISBN (Print)9781137325044
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • General Social Sciences


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