International remittances have grown dramatically over the past few decades. Existing scholarship on the impact of remittances has focused on their socioeconomic effects. This article focuses instead on the political impact of remittances, and in particular, its effect on political participation. Recent work on Mexico suggests that remittances may be a resource curse. They insulate recipients from local economic conditions, weaken the link between government performance and individual well-being, and reduce incentives to participate in politics.
This paper addresses the conditions under which donor and non-state actor service provision is likely to undermine or strengthen citizens’ legitimating beliefs. On the one hand, citizens may be less likely to support their government with quasi-voluntary compliance when they credit non-state actors or donors for service provision.
We show that armed conflict affects social capital as measured by trust and associational membership. Using the case of Uganda and two rounds of nationally representative individual-level data bracketing a large number of battle events, we find that self-reported generalized trust and associational membership decreased during the conflict in districts in which battle events took place. Exploiting the different timing of two distinct waves of violence, we provide suggestive evidence for a rapid recovery of social capital.
Why would politicians give up power over the allocation of critical resources to community leaders? This article examines why many African governments have ceded power over the allocation of land to non-elected traditional leaders. In contrast to the existing literature, which suggests traditional leaders’ power is a hang-over from the colonial period that has not been eliminated due to weak state capacity, I argue that African politicians often choose to devolve power to traditional leaders as a means of mobilizing electoral support from non-coethnics.
This paper analyzes the impact of corruption on the extent of trust in political institutions using a rich collection of comparable data provided by the Afrobarometer surveys conducted in 18 sub-Saharan African countries. More specifically, we set out to test the "efficient grease" hypothesis that corruption can strengthen citizens' trust since bribe paying and clientelism open the door to otherwise scarce and inaccessible services and subsidies, and that this increases institutional trust. Our findings reject this theoretical argument.
Trust is increasingly perceived as having significant effect on trade, public goods provision, conflict resolution and even democratic consolidation. In this paper we investigate the historical determinants of trust within Africa, by testing for a long-term impact of the intensity of the slave trades on the level of interpersonal trust and trust in local institutions.
It is widely believed that efforts to overcome the collective action problem are more likely to s쳮d when the level of social capital is high. The analysis in this paper is based on Afrobarometer survey data gathered for Ghana and Nigeria. The statistical analysis explores the variables that influence social capital and political trust. The most important determinant of interpersonal trust in Nigeria and Ghana is trust in political institutions.
Analysts of African political party systems frequently assert that political parties and party system development are central to the effective functioning and eventual consolidation of democracy on the continent. Due to both lack of data and elite bias, analysts have overlooked a critical link in the chain of party system evolution: mass attitudes toward political parties generally, and towards opposition parties in particular. Afrobarometer data reveals that there is, on average, a very large (20-percentage point) gap in levels of public trust between ruling and opposition parties.
This article uses data from the Afrobarometer—an individual-level survey that has been conducted in 18 countries across Sub-Saharan Africa—to explore the nature of social capital and its relationship to political violence. Building on and extending this prior literature, we seek to assess whether different aspects of social capital influence the nature and prevalence of political violence, and their potential precursors and enabling conditions, in the African context.
I explore public perceptions of corruption in the Senegalese case using public opinion survey data collected by the Afrobarometer in 2005. The primary questions I ask in this paper are: what can we learn by asking citizens to report their perceptions of corruption in social and political surveys as compared to a sort of ethnographic approach? What do these survey questions tell us about citizens’ perceptions and experiences with corruption in the Senegalese case? Finally, how do perceptions of corruption vary between individuals, and within the national state?
Elections are a means for realising some of the core values of democracy, especially participation of the citizenry, which helps to ensure quality governance and accountability on the part of elected officials. The quality of elections therefore provides an indicator of the extent to which democratic governance has been consolidated. The analyses in this paper indicate a significant relationship between citizens’ evaluation of the quality of their national elections and (1) satisfaction with democracy, and (2) trust in political institutions.
South Africa is widely seen as a leading, if not paradigmatic, success story of the Third Wave of Democracy. This success is just as widely attributed to the country’s supposedly wise choice of new democratic institutions that averted ethnic civil war and induced all key contenders to buy into the new democratic dispensation.
This paper addresses the corruption-trust nexus with survey data and statistical methods. Data are drawn from the Afrobarometer, a comparative series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, markets and civil society in selected African countries. This paper confirms that corruption is a major, perhaps the major, obstacle to building popular trust in state institutions and electoral processes in Africa.
Ethnicity is a central theme in the analysis of Nigerian politics. Conventional approaches to ethnic politics in Nigeria often assume the existence of stable identities and consistent group motives. It is also commonly asserted that Nigerian political behavior is driven by ethnic solidarities. Ethnic political parties, clientelism, and social polarization are all associated with strong communal allegiances. These practices are regarded as inherently corrosive to a plural democracy.
This paper tests some of Robert Cox's theories of political and social transformation using data from Round 1 (1999-2001) surveys in seven Southern African countries. Cox categorizes individuals as either "marginalised," "precarious" or "integrated" with respect to the political and economic world order, and hypothesizes that those who are marginalized or excluded are more inclined to pose a challenge to the status quo than the precarious and integrated.
Botswana is an electoral democracy and has been led by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) since independence in 1966. The country is recognised for upholding democratic
principles and has continuously received high ratings by the Ibrahim Index of African Governance and Freedom House. Botswana’s constitution embraces the protection of
fundamental rights and freedoms of expression, assembly, and association. However, some sexual acts, including certain same-sex acts, are illegal.
Whom do people trust? How much do they rely on informal networks and associations? Evaluations of the trustworthiness of various institutions.