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Ethnicity, Voter Alignment and Political Party Affiliation – an African Case: Zambia

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  • Gero Erdmann

    ()
    (GIGA Institute of African Affairs)

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    Abstract

    Conventional wisdom holds that ethnicity provides the social cleavage for voting behav-iour and party affiliation in Africa. Because this is usually inferred from aggregate data of national election results, it might prove to be an ecological fallacy. The evidence based on individual data from an opinion survey in Zambia suggests that ethnicity matters for voter alignment and even more so for party affiliation, but it is certainly not the only factor. The analysis also points to a number of qualifications which are partly methodology-related. One is that the degree of ethnic voting can differ from one ethno-political group to the other depending on various degrees of ethnic mobilisation. Another is that if smaller eth-nic groups or subgroups do not identify with one particular party, it is difficult to find a significant statistical correlation between party affiliation and ethnicity – but that does not prove that they do not affiliate along ethnic lines.

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    File URL: http://repec.giga-hamburg.de/pdf/giga_07_wp45_erdmann.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies in its series GIGA Working Paper Series with number 45.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Mar 2007
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:gig:wpaper:45

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    Keywords: Social cleavages; ethnicity; voting behaviour; political party identification; political party affiliation; Zambia;

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