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Ethnicity and Election Outcomes in Ghana

Author

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  • Thomas Bossuroy

    () (SALDRU, University of Cape Town, South Africa UMR DIAL-Paris-Dauphine)

Abstract

Is ethnicity the critical determinant of election results in Africa? We investigate this question empirically on the 2004 presidential poll in Ghana. We use variables from several data sources matched at the district level, and perform econometric analysis on the turnout rate and party vote shares, and on their evolution between two similar polls. We test the accuracy of two alternate models of voting, an ethnic model and a non-ethnic one that includes variables such as education, occupation or wealth. We provide robust evidence that the ethnic factor is a slightly better explaining factor for the structure of votes in Ghana, but does not rule out the significance of the non-ethnic model. We then show that the ethnic model fails to account accurately for the evolution of votes between two polls, which appears as the result of evaluative votes. Since a changeover of political power has occurred repeatedly in Ghana, the analysis of the motives of the pivotal voter is crucial. Our results show that non-ethnic determinants may ultimately drive election outcomes. _________________________________ L’ethnicité est-elle le déterminant majeur des résultats électoraux en Afrique? Nous étudions empiriquement cette question pour le scrutin présidentiel de 2004 au Ghana, en utilisant des données provenant de sources variées, assemblées au niveau du district. Nous conduisons une analyse économétrique du taux de participation et des résultats des partis politiques, ainsi que de leur évolution entre deux élections similaires. Nous testons la précision de deux modèles alternatifs de vote, un modèle ethnique et un non-ethnique qui inclut des variables telles que l’éducation, la profession ou la richesse. Nous montrons que le facteur ethnique surpasse légèrement le modèle non-ethnique pour expliquer la structure des votes au Ghana, même si ce dernier reste statistiquement valide. Mais le modèle ethnique explique très mal l’évolution des votes entre deux élections, qui apparaît comme le résultat d’un vote d’évaluation politique non ethnique. Comme des alternances se sont produites au Ghana plusieurs fois, les motivations de l’électeur pivot sont cruciales. Nos résultats montrent donc que les facteurs non-ethniques semblent déterminer les résultats des élections.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Bossuroy, 2011. "Ethnicity and Election Outcomes in Ghana," Working Papers DT/2011/05, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201105
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    File URL: http://www.dial.ird.fr/media/ird-sites-d-unites-de-recherche/dial/documents/publications/doc_travail/2011/2011-05
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler & Dominic Rohner, 2009. "Beyond greed and grievance: feasibility and civil war," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(1), pages 1-27, January.
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    6. Denis Cogneau & Thomas Bossuroy & Philippe De Vreyer & Charlotte Guénard & Victor Hiller & Phillippe Leite & Sandrine Mesplé-Somps & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Constance Torelli, 2006. "Inequalities and equity in Africa," Working Papers DT/2006/11, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
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    8. Thomas Bossuroy & Denis Cogneau, 2008. "Social Mobility and Colonial Legacy in Five African Countries," Working Papers DT/2008/10, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Vote; Ethnicity; Elections; Africa.;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development

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