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Democracy and Education Spending: Has Africas Move to Multiparty Elections Made a Difference to Policy?

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  • David Stasavage

Abstract

While it is generally recognized that electoral competition can have a major influence on public spending decisions, there has been little effort to consider whether the move to multiparty elections in African countries in recent years has led to a redistribution of public expenditures between social groups. In this paper I develop a hypothesis, illustrated with a simple game-theoretic model, which suggests that the need to obtain an electoral majority may have prompted African governments to devote greater resources to primary schools. I test this proposition using panel data on electoral competition and education spending in thirty-five African countries over the period 1981-1996. The results show that democratization has indeed been associated with greater spending on primary schools, and these findings are robust to controls for unobserved country effects. They are also supported by evidence from recent country cases. Though the reemergence of multiparty democracy in Africa has not led to a wholesale transformation of economic policies, these findings nonetheless suggest that it may be having a significant impact in individual policy areas.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE in its series STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers with number 37.

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Date of creation: Feb 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:37

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Web page: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/default.asp

Related research

Keywords: Primary education; political economy; democracy; electoral competition.;

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  1. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  2. Behrman, Jere R. & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1994. "Caveat emptor: Cross-country data on education and the labor force," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(1), pages 147-171, June.
  3. Bates, R-H, 1995. "Democratic Transition in Africa : A First Report on an Empirical Project," Papers 514, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
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Cited by:
  1. Sam Hickey, 2007. "Conceptualising the Politics of Social Protection in Africa," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series 0407, BWPI, The University of Manchester.

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