Political participation

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Political participation

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WP136: Political participation of Africa’s youth: Turnout, partisanship and protest

The youth have long represented an important constituency for electoral mobilization in Africa. Yet, despite their numerical importance and the historical relevance of generational identities within the region, very little is really known about the political participation of Africa’s youth. In order to address this issue, we combine country-level variables for 19 of Africa’s more democratic countries with individual-level public opinion data from Afrobarometer survey data.

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WP131: The “Born Frees”: The prospects for generational change in post-apartheid South Africa

In 1994, the combined prospects of rapid demographic change and a radically changed political system held out the promise of rapid movement toward a transformed citizenry, based primarily on an emerging post-apartheid generation imbued with the values of the new South African citizen. But as far as popular demand for democracy goes, the post-apartheid generation is less committed to democracy than their parents or grandparents.

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WP129: Mapping ideologies in African landscapes

Candidate appeals on the basis of what Western observers would call ideology are rare in contemporary Africa. Given this general absence of ideological cues, top-down approaches to the study of the emergence of political attitudinal structures would suggest that most non-elites will likely not self-label ideologically or structure their political attitudes according to identifiable dimensions.

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WP127: Voting intentions in Africa: Ethnic, economic or partisan?

This paper offers a first comprehensive account of popular voting intentions in Africa’s new electoral democracies. With reference to comparative aggregate and survey data from 16 countries, we show that competitive elections in Africa are more than mere ethnic censuses or simple economic referenda. Instead, Africans engage in both ethnic and economic voting. Not surprisingly, people who belong to the ethnic group in power intend to support the ruling party, in contrast to those who feel a sense of discrimination against their cultural group.

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WP125: Ethnicity and the willingness to sanction violent politicians: Evidence from Kenya

In Africa, it is often presumed that ethnicity shapes individuals' evaluations of politicians, and individuals would be particularly likely to rely on ethnic cues where violence or other personal experiences render ethnicity more salient. This paper examines whether individuals' ethnicity affects evaluations of politicians who use election violence or violate other democratic norms. The paper draws on data from a novel survey-embedded experiment conducted by the author in six slums in Nairobi, Kenya, in July 2009.

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WP121: Political participation in Africa: Participatory inequalities and the role of resources

The aim of this paper is to examine the role of individual resource endowments for explaining individual and group variation in African political participation. Drawing on new data for more than 27 000 respondents in 20 emerging African democracies, the empirical findings suggest surprisingly weak explanatory power of the resource perspective, both for explaining individual variation and observed group inequalities in participation. In several cases, the relatively resource poor groups participate to a greater extent than the relatively resource rich.

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WP111: Weak states and political violence in sub-Saharan Africa

Political violence has emerged as one of Africa 's most pressing security issues and recent events in Kenya , Cote d'Ivoire and Nigeria point to the salience of the phenomenon. Existing studies argue that the weak and incapacitated nature of African states is a significant factor contributing to high levels of political violence. Yet this insight does not help us to understand which aspect of a weak state affects political violence.

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WP90: Social capital and political violence in sub-Saharan Africa

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.

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WP89: Political sources of ethnic identification in Africa

This paper draws on data from over 33,000 respondents in twenty-two surveys in 10 African countries to investigate the political sources of ethnic identification in Africa. We find strong evidence that the strength of ethnic identities in Africa is shaped by political competition. In particular, we find that respondents are more likely to identify in ethnic terms the closer their country is to a competitive presidential election. Exposure to political competition, as well as non-traditional occupations, powerfully affects whether or not people identify themselves in ethnic terms.

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WP83: Ethnicity as a political cleavage

This paper examines the significance of ethnicity as a political cleavage across African nations over time. While scholars have studied the influence of ethnicity in structuring party politics in Africa, those studies have largely been limited to an examination of ruling party support. This work develops a measure of ‘ethnic voting’ that is reflective of all significant parties and ethnic groups. This measure of ‘ethnic voting’ allows us to compare reliably across countries within the Afrobarometer sample.

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WP82: Democracy without people: Political institutions and citizenship in the New South Africa

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.

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WP80: Political rights versus public goods: Uncovering the determinants of satisfaction

In democracies there is a trade-off between efficiency in the provision of public goods and the extent of political representation. Our paper shows how this trade-off plays out in translating intrinsic versus instrumental understandings of democracy into different levels of satisfaction with democratic outcomes. We use public opinion data in eighteen African countries to demonstrate that citizens who value democracy instrumentally report lower levels of satisfaction when fractionalization is high.

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WP58: The political gender gap in Africa: similar attitudes, different behaviors

Recent analysis by Ingelhart and Norris (2003) suggests that the observed gender gap between men and women in Western societies is shifting, from women being more conservative than men in ideology, electoral preference, and political attitudes (the “traditional gender gap”) to being more liberal (the “modern gender gap”). But the same analysis challenges whether this model of the links between gender and political preferences applies well in non-Western developing societies.

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WP37: Marginalisation in Southern Africa: Transformation from below?

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.

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WP18: Uncritical citizens or patient trustees? Tanzanians' views of political and economic reform

The results of a 2001 national public opinion survey in Tanzania demonstrate significant public support for economic and political reform, but the legacy of 30 years of socialist one-party rule is evident as well. This report details patterns of public opinion that differ in important ways from those observed elsewhere in Africa, and that present several apparent paradoxes. First, while Tanzanians are very dissatisfied with the state of their national economy, they also display the highest levels of support for economic reform.

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