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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.

Suggested Citation

  • David Stasavage, 2003. "Democracy and Education Spending: Has Africas Move to Multiparty Elections Made a Difference to Policy?," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 37, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:stidep:37
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    File URL: http://sticerd.lse.ac.uk/dps/de/dedps37.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bates, R-H, 1995. "Democratic Transition in Africa : A First Report on an Empirical Project," Papers 514, Harvard - Institute for International Development.
    2. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
    3. Robert H. Bates, 2005. "Political Reform," CID Working Papers 114, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
    4. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sam Hickey, 2007. "Conceptualising the Politics of Social Protection in Africa," Global Development Institute Working Paper Series 0407, GDI, The University of Manchester.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Primary education; political economy; democracy; electoral competition.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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