Containing ethnic conflicts through ethical voting? Evidence from Ethiopia

Year: 2007 HiCN Working Paper No. 035

In an ethnically polarized country, does aversion towards inter-ethnic inequity induce citizens to vote for a party promoting an equitable allocation of national resources among ethnic groups? We base our analysis on a survey that we conducted among 331 students from Addis Ababa University. We show that aversion towards inter-ethnic inequity does exert a significant influence on university students’ vote. Yet, its relative impact is small in comparison to the impact of ethnic group loyalty which determines ethnic voting. We provide confirmation that some specific sociodemographic characteristics significantly (i) increase the degree of aversion towards inter-ethnic inequity and (ii) lower ethnic group loyalty. Those characteristics have in common that they reduce the ‘psychological’ distance between ethnic groups, like living in a cosmopolitan city and having parents belonging to different ethnic groups.