Culture and development

There is a growing interest within the development community to understand the role of broader socio-cultural factors in contributing development.

Culture, ethnic diversity and religious diversity are some important socio-cultural factors that have been shown to be correlated with a range of development policy variables. CID researchers have examined how some of these factors influence different development outcomes.

Lead: Sefa Awaworyi Churchill 

Other researchers: Simon Feeny, Meg Elkins, Alberto Posso, Samuelson Appau

SDG alignment 

Recent publications 

  • Appau, S., & Mabefam, M. G. (2020). Prosperity for the poor: religion, poverty and development in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Moving from the Millennium to the sustainable development goals (pp. 243-265). Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S., Elkins, M., and Feeny, S. (2020) “Ethnic Diversity and Progress Towards the Millennium Development Goals” in S Awaworyi Churchill (ed.), “Moving from the Millennium to the Sustainable Development Goals: Lessons and Recommendations”, Palgrave MacMillan: Singapore.
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S. and Appau, S. (2020) “Microfinance in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Curse and Blessing of Ethnic Diversity” Applied Economics, vol 52, No. 16, pp. 1816-1830
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S. Madhoo, Y., and Nath, S. (2020) “Ethnic Diversity and Human Capital Development in India: A disaggregated analysis at the state and district levels” Applied Economics, vol 52, No. 5, pp. 506-518
  • Mabefam, M. G., & Appau, S. (2020). Witchcraft Accusations and the Social Exclusion of the Elderly in Northern Ghana: Understanding How Cultural Discourses and Practices Affect the Wellbeing of the Elderly. In Measuring, Understanding and Improving Wellbeing Among Older People (pp. 187-209). Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore.
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S. (2019) “Firm financial performance in Sub-Saharan Africa: The role of ethnic diversity” Empirical Economics, vol 57, No. 3, pp. 957-970
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S., Ivanovski, K. and Bhattacharya, M. (2019) “The role of ethnic diversity in sustainable environmental growth: New evidence across different income regions” Applied Economics, vol 51, No. 4, pp. 398-408
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S., and Laryea, E. (2019) “Crime and Ethnic Diversity: Cross-country Evidence” Crime & Delinquency, vol 65, No. 2, pp. 239-269
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S., Nuhu, S. and Lopez, K. (2019)“Persistence of Gender Inequality: The Role of Ethnic Divisions” Applied Economics, vol 51, No. 8, pp. 781-796
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S. and Mishra, V. (2018) “The impact of ethnic diversity on microenterprise start-ups” Applied Economics, vol 50, pp. 4328-4342
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S., and Smyth, R. (2017) “Ethnic Diversity and Poverty” World Development, vol 95, pp. 285-302
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S. (2017) “Fractionalization, Entrepreneurship and the Institutional Environment for Entrepreneurship” Small Business Economics, vol 48, pp. 577-597 (doi:10.1007/s11187-016-9796-8)
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S. (2017) “Microfinance and Ethnic Diversity” The Economic Record, vol 93, pp. 112-141
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S., Valenzuela, R. and Sablah, W. (2017) “Ethnic Diversity and Firm Performance: Evidence from China’s materials and industrial sectors” Empirical Economics, vol 53, pp. 1711-1731 (
  • Awaworyi Churchill, S., Okai, D. and Posso, A. (2016) “Internet Use and Ethnic Heterogeneity in a Cross-Section of Countries” Economic Papers: A journal of applied economics and policy, vol 35, pp. 59-72

Work in Progress   

  • Awaworyi-Churchill, S., and Danquah, M. (2020), Ethnic diversity and informal work 
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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.