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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Manuel Couret Branco, 2008. "Underdevelopment and Democratization in Africa," CEFAGE-UE Working Papers 2008_06, University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal).
  • Handle: RePEc:cfe:wpcefa:2008_06
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson & James A. Robinson & Pierre Yared, 2008. "Income and Democracy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 808-842, June.
    4. 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.
    5. James A. Robinson, 1998. "Theories of “bad policy”," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(1), pages 1-46.
    6. Manuel Couret Branco, 2007. "The Logic of Globalization and Substantive Democracy," Economics Working Papers 01_2007, University of Évora, Department of Economics (Portugal).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Africa; Democracy; Development; Underdevelopment; Inequalities; Impoverishment.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • A10 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - General
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F50 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - General
    • F54 - International Economics - - International Relations, National Security, and International Political Economy - - - Colonialism; Imperialism; Postcolonialism
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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