This study applies institutional analysis to explore the connections between ethnicity and political choice during elections. Inquiries into the electoral politics of Fanteakwa, a multiethnic administrative district and electoral constituency in Ghana, demand that interactions between three institutions of local power be evaluated to explain when ethnicity is a significant factor in political choice. This is largely because although people determine their political allegiance on the basis of political familiarity, they also do so on the basis of economic well-being. The institutional relationships and the characteristics of the local political party, local government administration and chieftaincy define how resources are distributed, who benefits and who does not. And this in turn, drives voters, sometimes drawing on and transforming cleavages defined by ethnicity. This case study also suggests that 'locality', a subcategory of ethnicity, is a more salient factor than ethnicity in determining how individuals think about their political options in a multiethnic setting.
CRISE Working Paper 59, 38 pp.