Ethnicity is an important institution and one that impacts on the quality of governance. This paper focuses on the behavior of ethnic groups and specifically on their impact on the provision of public goods. The paper shows that ethnic heterogeneity results in under-provision of non-excludable public goods. On the other hand, such societies associate with provision of patronage goods. The paper proposes some areas of research such the economics of ethnic institutions, empirical evidence of the role ethnic groups on public goods provision, tax compliance and institutional reforms to improve governance.