The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
The paper investigates empirically the impact of ethnic heterogeneity on the amount of public spending on health and education and the quality, or “technical efficiency” of spending. While it finds partial evidence for the claim that more heterogeneous societies spend less on public goods, it suggests that heterogeneity significantly affects the efficiency of public expenditure outcomes in terms of social indicators. The results suggest that the impact of heterogeneity on public expenditure outcomes is not just a public choice problem, but also an issue of “technical efficiency.”