Ethnic Concentration and Public Goods Provision: a Study of

Christopher Paik (Princeton University)

Abstract: The nighttime streetlight imagery has been used as a viable measure of economic activities and level of infrastructure. The satellite snapshots of how brightly lit one area is over others may be especially useful for analyzing patterns of public goods provision in states where it is difficult to obtain unbiased socioeconomic data. Interpreting these images as representative of the level of public goods provision, this paper presents findings based on a set of spatial data of China between 1990 and 2000. It shows that counties which saw an increase in the ethnic minority fraction in total population experienced a small decrease in the level of streetlights provided in their areas, after controlling for factors such as urbanization and demographic changes. The paper argues that this variation in the level of provision may be an inadvertent outcome of China's policy on economic development.

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