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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
  • Publication Date: 09-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) is longterm and characterised by sporadic surges of violence against a backdrop of state disintegration, a survival economy and deep inter-ethnic cleavages. Armed groups (including the anti-balaka and the ex-Seleka) are fragmenting and becoming increasingly criminalised; intercommunal tensions have hampered efforts to promote CAR’s national unity and mend its social fabric. Unfortunately, the roadmap to end the crisis, which includes elections before the end of 2015, presents a short-term answer. To avoid pursuing a strategy that would merely postpone addressing critical challenges until after the polls, CAR’s transitional authorities and international partners should address them now by implementing a comprehensive disarmament policy, and reaffirming that Muslims belong within the nation. If this does not happen, the elections risk becoming a zero-sum game.
  • Topic: Political Violence, Arms Control and Proliferation, Democratization, Ethnic Conflict, Political Economy, Fragile/Failed State
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Gilbert Khadiagala
  • Publication Date: 05-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Peace Institute
  • Abstract: Since independence, African states and organizations have made significant investments in conflict management and resolution tools. So why do some African states and regions remain saddled by conflict and instability? How can African states leverage democratic governance to end wars? The new report Silencing the Guns suggests that the key to ending conflict in Africa lies in fostering effective governance and creating political and economic institutions that can effectively prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts. Author Gilbert Khadiagala unpacks how and why democratic governance is linked to conflict prevention and management, and provides an overview of landmark trends that have influenced governance in Africa since the 1950s. He shows that not all forms of democratic governance reduce conflicts and examines the ways in which “developmental dictatorships,” corruption, and the privatization of security are posing obstacles for governance and peace today.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Conflict Prevention, Democratization, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Somaliland’s hybrid system of tri-party democracy and traditional clan-based governance has enabled the consolidation of state-like authority, social and economic recovery and, above all, relative peace and security but now needs reform. Success has brought greater resources, including a special funding status with donors – especially the UK, Denmark and the European Union (EU) – as well as investment from and diplomatic ties with Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), though not international recognition. It is increasingly part of the regional system; ties are especially strong with Ethiopia and Djibouti. Given the continued fragility of the Somalia Federal Government (SFG), which still rejects its former northern region’s independence claims, and civil war across the Gulf of Aden in Yemen, Somaliland’s continued stability is vital. This in turn requires political reforms aimed at greater inclusion, respect for mediating institutions (especially the professional judiciary and parliament) and a regional and wider internationally backed framework for external cooperation and engagement.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance, Elections
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somaliland
  • Author: Richard Youngs
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  • Abstract: Politics in the Middle East are increasingly polarized and fragmented. The Arab Spring's citizen-led spirit of reform is still alive, but societies are increasingly torn apart by bitter tensions between Sunni and Shia, secular liberals and Islamists, and governments and civil society. As polarization has deepened, the concern with engaging in dialogue to bridge differences has intensified. The relationship between these mediation efforts and support for systemic reform will be a pivotal factor in the Middle East's future political trajectory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Civil Society, Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Governance, Sectarianism
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East, Arabia
  • Author: Mongi Boughzala, Mohamed Tlili Hamdi
  • Publication Date: 02-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Brookings Institution
  • Abstract: Regional disparities and inequality between the rural and the urban areas in Tunisia have been persistently large and perceived as a big injustice. The main regions that did not receive an equitable share from the country's economic growth, as compared to the coastal regions that are highly urbanized, are the predominantly rural western regions. Their youth often have to migrate to the cities to look for work and most of them end up with low-paying and frustrating jobs in the informal sector. The more educated among them face a very uncertain outlook and the highest rate of unemployment. This bias is strongest for female workers and university graduates living in the poor rural regions. The purpose of this paper is to study the underlying causes and factors of these disparities and to discuss policies and measures that may allow these regions to benefit from faster and more inclusive growth.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Poverty, Social Stratification
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia, Tunisia
  • 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
  • Publication Date: 06-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: This report examines the increase in drug trafficking and consumption in West Africa and their impact on the state and on society. It concludes with recommendations on how the region can respond humanely, effectively and preemptively to these problems.
  • Topic: Democratization, Economics, War on Drugs, Law Enforcement
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Anna van der Vleuten, Merran Hulse
  • Publication Date: 03-2014
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Research Center (SFB) 700
  • Abstract: As early as 1992, the Treaty of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) already included a commitment to human rights, democracy, and the rule of law as governance standards in its member states, but it was in 2001 that SADC significantly broadened its efforts at governance transfer. SADC focuses in particular on standards related to gender, (socioeconomic) human rights, and (electoral) democracy, which are promoted and protected through various instruments including military interventions and sanctions in the framework of security cooperation. While the rule of law and good governance have also gained a more prominent place on the agenda since 2001, standards and instruments are less developed. Overall, there is a significant gap between the prescription of standards and policies on the one hand and the implementation of measures on the other. The suspension of the SADC Tribunal in 2010 following its rulings on human rights issues clearly shows the limits of SADC as an active promoter vis-à-visits member states.
  • Topic: Democratization, Gender Issues, Human Rights, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Publication Date: 01-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: The Maghreb is in motion. Political changes underway across North Africa have created opportunities for more representative and transparent governance. Debates over the nature of authority and the role of the state that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago now shape political discourse. And yet, doubts remain.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Democratization, Development, Regime Change, Governance
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arabia, North Africa