Christopher L. Carter.
Communal Landholding and the Coordination of Ethnic Voting: Evidence from Mexico and Peru.
Public goods are often allocated along ethnic lines in heterogeneous societies. However, variation exists in the extent to which one
ethnic group controls resources as opposed to another. In this paper, I use the cases of Peru and Mexico to explore the conditions under
which indigenous citizens elect coethnic leaders and how the election of such candidates affects the distribution of
public goods provided across ethnic groups. I argue that where communal landholding institutions, which tend to have a
mostly indigenous membership, have persisted, differences in development outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous
populations are greatly reduced. Such a reduction is largely due to the the fact that communities solve coordination problems,
allowing indigenous voters to support a single indigenous candidate, who, when victorious, rewards communities with public goods.
Using data from a conjoint experiment, lab-in-the-field, and a natural experiment, I provide evidence to show that 1) a
candidate’s community membership is an important determinant of whether she receives the support of community members; 2) that
trust in the candidate is a key mechanism in explaining this preference; and 3) that mayors who are community members reward
communities with more public goods than mayors who are not from communities.
Funded by: US Department of Education, UC Berkeley Institute for International Studies John L. Simpson Memorial Grant,
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, UC Mexus, National Science Foundation
Implementing partner: IPA