, Volume 99, Issue 3, pp 487-510
Date: 09 Mar 2010

Ethnicity and Economic Well-Being: The Case of Ghana

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Abstract

In the context of decades of successful economic reforms in Ghana, this study investigates whether ethnicity influences economic well-being (perceived and actual) among Ghanaians at the micro-level. Drawing on Afro-barometer 2008 data, the authors employs logistic and multiple regression techniques to explore the relative effect of ethnicity on economic well-being. Results demonstrate that ethnicity is an important determinant of both measures of people’s economic well-being (perceived and actual) in Ghana. Ethnicity tends to have both negative and positive effect on economic well-being among different ethnic groups and different sub-sample. For instance, for three ethnic groups (Akans, Ga-Adangbes and Ewe/Anglo), ethnicity predicts lower level of economic well-being for rural residents, whereas for Akans, it minimizes the risk of deprivation in the urban setting. Findings from this study do not support the idea that ethnicity may be less relevant in shaping people’s well-being in an era of economic reforms in a society like that of Ghana. Detailed policy implications of the study are discussed emphasizing the need to develop ethnic-specific development programs to complement the on-going reforms as part of the country’s decentralization efforts.