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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

How have successive Kenyan governments distributed development resources since Independence? Resource distribution institutions during Kenya’s first five decades after Independence followed either a center-led or local-led track. Each president designed his own center-led resource distribution strategies, and distributed state resources disproportionately to his co-ethnic base in light of the group’s geographic location and representation in the bureaucracy. Presidents have designed local-led tracks to check the power of and (since the return of multi-party elections) to bargain with legislative elites. This chapter finds that the resulting distribution patterns across space have been driven by ethnic politics. The ethnic (sub-)groups that most strongly support the patron in charge of distributing either center- or local-led resources have been those that have benefited the most.

Keywords: ethnic politics, public goods provision, decentralization, executive power, democratization

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