Tribal mobilization, fragmented groups, and public goods provision in Jordan
Comparative Political Studies
Diversity has been blamed for poor public goods provision in a number of different contexts. It is associated with reduced spending on services, meager rates of tax collection, and poor policies. I argue in this article, however, that in semidemocratic or authoritarian countries, where political parties are weak, diversity can be an important source of electoral competition, leading to better services. In diverse communities where multiple identity groups are politically mobilized, candidates are forced to seek the support of voters outside of their group, who are more likely to vote based on qualifications than on group affiliation, resulting in better public officials who provide superior services. Moreover, I find internal group fragmentation to be important in understanding the impact of heterogeneity on public goods provision: Candidates in areas where only one identity group is politically mobilized but where that group is politically fragmented will also seek votes from other groups within the community similar to candidates in locations with “multigroup” mobilization, leading to improved public goods provision. These arguments are confirmed through the analysis of tribal mobilization and public goods across Jordan’s municipalities.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from the publisher via the DOI in this record.