Discussion paper

DP17735 State-Building in a Diverse Society

Diversity can pose fundamental challenges to state-building and development. The Tanzanian Ujamaa policy—one of post-colonial Africa’s largest state-building experiments—addressed these challenges by resettling a diverse population in planned villages, where children received political education. We combine differences in exposure to Ujamaa across space and age to identify long-term impacts of the policy. Analysis of contemporary surveys shows persistent, positive effects on national identity and state legitimacy. Exposed cohorts are also more likely to marry across ethnic lines. Our preferred interpretation, supported by evidence that considers alternative hypotheses, is that changes to educational content drive our results. Our findings also point to trade-offs associated with state-building: while the policy contributed to establishing the new state as a legitimate central authority, simultaneously it lowered demands for democratic accountability.


Carlitz, R, A Morjaria, J Mueller and P Osafo-Kwaako (2022), ‘DP17735 State-Building in a Diverse Society‘, CEPR Discussion Paper No. 17735. CEPR Press, Paris & London. https://cepr.org/publications/dp17735