Discussion paper

DP17735 State-Building in a Diverse Society

Diversity poses fundamental challenges to state-building and development. We study the effects of one of post-colonial Africa's largest policy experiments — the Tanzanian Ujamaa policy — which attempted to address these challenges. Ujamaa aimed to create a national identity and consolidate state authority by mandating a highly diverse population to live 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. We show persistent, positive effects on national identity based on surveys and inter-ethnic marriages. We observe no systematic differences for cohorts that were above or below treatment-age during Ujamaa. Our preferred interpretation, supported by evidence that considers alternative hypotheses, is that changes to educational content drive our findings. Moreover, while Ujamaa contributed to establishing the Tanzanian state as a legitimate central authority, it appears to have lowered demands for democratic accountability.


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