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  • Author: Matthias Basedau, Michael Wahman
  • Publication Date: 04-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Building on theoretical insights from research on the rentier state and the “resource curse,” several studies have supported the argument that oil hinders democracy. However, previous research on the rentier state has neglected the global surge of multiparty autocracies or “electoral authoritarian” regimes since the end of the Cold War. No systematic study has been carried out on the question of whether or not and how oil affects electoral contests in nondemocratic regimes. In this paper we contribute to filling this gap by combing the literature on multiparty autocracy and the political economy of the rentier state. As oil production creates substantial, nontransparent revenue streams to national and subnational governments, we hypothesize that oil production has a negative effect on electoral competitiveness, both cross‐ and subnationally, in multiparty autocracies. Consequently, the democratic “resource curse” emphasized in earlier work on the rentier state is likely to persist even after the introduction of multipartyism in cases where oil production predates democratic institutions. The paper tests the hypothesis cross‐nationally, using data on all multiparty elections held in the world in the period 1975–2010, and subnationally, using a new data set on subnational election results and oil production in Nigeria. Our results confirm that oil impedes electoral competitiveness, both cross‐ and subnationally, in multiparty autocracies.
  • Topic: Cold War, Democratization, Oil
  • Political Geography: Africa, Nigeria
  • Author: Mariana Llanos, Alexander Stroh, Cordula Tibi Weber, Charlotte Heyl
  • Publication Date: 04-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: This paper assesses the extent to which elected power holders informally intervene in the judiciaries of new democracies, an acknowledged but under-researched topic in studies of judicial politics. The paper first develops an empirical strategy for the study of informal interference based on perceptions recorded in interviews, then applies the strategy to six third-wave democracies, three in Africa (Benin, Madagascar and Senegal) and three in Latin America (Argentina, Chile and Paraguay). It also examines how three conditioning factors affect the level of informal judicial interference: formal rules, previous democratic experience, and socioeconomic development. Our results show that countries with better performance in all these conditioning factors exhibit less informal interference than countries with poorer or mixed performance. The results stress the importance of systematically including informal politics in the study of judicial politics.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Power Politics, Law
  • Political Geography: Africa, Argentina, Latin America, Tamil Nadu
  • Author: Sebastian Elischer
  • Publication Date: 08-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: The effects of organized labor on regime change in developing countries are not clear‐cut. Optimists argue that union agitation is conducive to both democratic transition and consolidation processes. Pessimists hold that unions will support any regime that is conducive to their demands. Accordingly, unions may support regime transitions; however, once their economic interests are under threat, they will jeopardize the subsequent consolidation process. Systematic studies on the effects of organized labor on regime change in sub‐ Saharan Africa are sparse and largely confined to the (pre)transition phase. This article examines the role of organized labor in Niger between 1990 and 2010. Given the high number of regime breakdowns during the period, a longitudinal study of Nigerien labor enables a critical examination of motives and actions of organized labor toward different regime types. In contrast to other recent findings on African unionism, the article confirms the pessimistic view.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Development, Regime Change, Labor Issues
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Sebastian Elischer, Gero Erdmann, Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: In the early 1990s most African countries carried out extensive reforms of their electoral regimes. Adopting a historical institutionalist approach, this paper critically examines the role of institutional path dependence in accounting for the setup of six African electoral regimes. For this purpose, we distinguish between different types of path dependence. The paper further analyzes the extent to which the development of electoral institutions contributed to the regime-type outcome (democratic/hybrid/autocratic). The main emphasis herein is on so-hybrid regimes;” in other words, regimes existing in the grey zone between democracy and autocracy. The paper finds that, while institutional path dependence has a limited but important impact on the setup of the electoral regimes, it is ultimately the process of decision-making during critical junctures that accounts for the regime type outcome. Hybrid regimes lack long-term institutional ownership.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Dirk Kohnert
  • Publication Date: 02-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Recent development cooperation with Guinea-Bissau, focusing on good governance, state-building and conflict prevention, did not contribute to democratization nor to the stabilization of volatile political, military and economic structures. The portrayal of Guinea-Bissau as a failed “narco-state”, as we ll as Western aid meant to stabilize this state, are both based on dubious concepts. Certainly, the impact of drug trafficking could endanger democratization and state-building if continued unchecked. However, the most pressing need is not state-building facilitated by external aid that is poorly rooted in the social and political fabric of the country. Rather, it is grassroots nation-building that is a pre-condition for the creation of viable state institutions.
  • Topic: Democratization, Narcotics Trafficking
  • Political Geography: Africa, Guinea-Bissau
  • Author: Anika Moroff
  • Publication Date: 04-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Since 1990 the banning of ethnic and other identity-based parties has become the norm in sub-Saharan Africa. This article focuses on Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda as three East African countries that have opted for different ways of dealing with such parties. Using case studies, it traces the origins of the party bans in Tanzania and Uganda and explores the reasons for the absence of a ban in Kenya. The analysis shows that the laws on particularistic parties have actually been implemented by the appropriate institutions. However, these laws have only marginally influenced the character of the political parties in the three countries: A comparison of regional voting patterns suggests that bans on particularistic parties have not ensured the emergence of aggregative parties with a national following in Tanzania and Uganda. In Kenya on the other hand, where such a ban was nonexistent until 2008, parties have not proven to be more regional.
  • Topic: Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Uganda, Kenya, Africa, Tanzania
  • Author: Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 02-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Recent publications suggest that exclusively ethnoregional parties are as rare in sub-Saharan Africa as elsewhere. At the same time, the idea that ethnicity is a very special feature of African party politics persists. The paper acknowledges the general relevance of ethnicity in party competition but emphasizes the level on which it becomes important. It develops a microbehavioral approach which pays particular attention to the strategic choices of party elites in order to supplement the dominant structuralist thinking in party research on Africa. An in-depth evaluation of detailed election data from Burkina Faso shows that strategies which rely on personal proximity between the voter and the candidates influence the parties' success to a great extent. Parties maximize their chances of winning seats if they concentrate their limited resources on the home localities of leading party members. Hence, African party politics are less dependent on ethnic demography than is often implied but more open to change through elite behavior.
  • Topic: Democratization, Demographics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Matthias Basedau, Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 05-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Despite earlier assumptions that ethnicity is a central feature of African party systems, there is little substantial evidence for this claim. The few studies with an empirical foundation rarely rely on individual data and are biased in favor of Anglophone Africa. This paper looks at four Francophone countries, drawing on four representative survey polls in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. Multivariate regression models and bivariate control tools reveal that ethnicity matters as a determinant of party preference, but that its impact is generally rather weak and differs with regard to party systems and individual parties. “Ethnic parties” in the strict sense are almost completely absent, and only the Beninese party system is substantially “ethnicized.” In particular, regional ties between voters and leaders—rather than ethnic affiliation alone—deserve attention in the future study of voting behavior in Africa.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Christian von Soest
  • Publication Date: 04-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: Botswana appears to be an exception. Scholars recurrently describe the country as a “deviant” (Charlton 1990: 137-138; Kloeden et al. 2004: 53) or a “special case” (Hansohm 2001: 294) compared to the rest of Africa. A plethora of studies have been conducted on the political and economic development of the country, all stressing its “exceptionality.” Some even term Botswana the “African miracle” (Samatar 1999). The country is seen as a heaven of prosperity and stability in a region full of economic and political misery.
  • Topic: Corruption, Democratization, Post Colonialism
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Alexander Stroh
  • Publication Date: 07-2009
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Institute of Global and Area Studies
  • Abstract: While much has been written about the special design of Rwanda's judiciary in order to handle the aftermath of the genocide in 1994, other institutional actions resulting from the 2003 constitution have rarely been addressed in research. However, the second (partial) parliamentary elections in September 2008 revealed some of the implications which the carefully designed electoral system has for Rwanda's political development. As a starting point, the paper emphasises the need to link the debates on institutional design in divided societies with elections in authoritarian regimes. Under different regime types, “institutional engineers” may pursue different goals. The paper concludes that in the case of Rwanda proportional representation (PR) has been implemented to support undemocratic goals. PR limits the local accountability of politicians in a political environment in which the government is not controlled by a democratic opposition. Thus, Rwanda's current PR system facilitates the maintenance of authoritarian power in the country, whereas small constituencies would establish closer links between the local populations and their representatives.
  • Topic: Democratization, Politics, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa