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Things Fall Apart: Dictatorships, Development, and Democracy in Africa


  • Berhanu Nega
  • Geoff Schneider


Recent events in Africa provide evidence of the failure of dictatorships to meet the needs of citizens and serve to debunk a number of development theory assumptions: that democratization is culturally determined, that democratization will follow economic development, and that dictatorships tend to produce durable, stable development. Therefore, the attempt to achieve development without democratization is risky and potentially very costly. We argue that dictatorship in Africa serves a function akin to Myrdal's backwash effects, thwarting economic progress in a cumulative and circular way, and that democratization must become a necessary criterion of engagement with African countries.

Suggested Citation

  • Berhanu Nega & Geoff Schneider, 2012. "Things Fall Apart: Dictatorships, Development, and Democracy in Africa," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 371-382.
  • Handle: RePEc:mes:jeciss:v:46:y:2012:i:2:p:371-382
    DOI: 10.2753/JEI0021-3624460212

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