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Underdevelopment and Democratization in Africa

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  • Manuel Couret Branco

    ()
    (Universidade de Evora)

Abstract

In the middle of the twentieth century S.M. Lipset sustained that various indicators of economic development were higher in democratic countries than in authoritarian ones, suggesting that development was as a condition to democracy. More recently, though, several authors have shown that there is no strong empirical evidence confirming development as a condition to democracy, suggesting in turn that the economic is not as important in democratization as it seemed in the 1950s. Despite this fact, there are some clues that indicate that economic factors do play an important role in democratization, but in a way different than that proposed by Lipset. In this article a revision of literature on some economic obstacles to democratization in Africa is carried out, its main conclusion being that underdevelopment decisively contributes to the difficulties many African countries experience in democratizing. One should not mistake underdevelopment with unadevelopment though, the latter being the mere absence or delay in development and the former a specific supporting role given to developing countries within the global development process. The article?s general conclusion, therefore, is that democratic development is not a question of getting richer, i.e. intensifying the development model, as much as of reforming this same model.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal) in its series CEFAGE-UE Working Papers with number 2008_06.

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Length: 15 pages
Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cfe:wpcefa:2008_06

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Keywords: Africa; Democracy; Development; Underdevelopment; Inequalities; Impoverishment.;

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  1. Paul Collier & Jan Willem Gunning, 1999. "Why Has Africa Grown Slowly?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 13(3), pages 3-22, Summer.
  2. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A & Yared, Pierre, 2005. "Income and Democracy," CEPR Discussion Papers 5273, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Manuel Couret Branco, 2007. "The Logic of Globalization and Substantive Democracy," Economics Working Papers 01_2007, University of Évora, Department of Economics (Portugal).
  4. Stanley L. Engerman & Kenneth Lee Sokoloff, 2002. "Factor Endowments, Inequality, and Paths of Development among New World Economies," JOURNAL OF LACEA ECONOMIA, LACEA - LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson, 2000. "The Colonial Origins of Comparative Development: An Empirical Investigation," NBER Working Papers 7771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Evelyne Huber & Dietrich Rueschemeyer & John D. Stephens, 1993. "The Impact of Economic Development on Democracy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 71-86, Summer.
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