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Social Inequalities and the Politicization of Ethnic Cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, 1999-2019

Author

Listed:
  • Jules Baleyte

    (INSEE)

  • Amory Gethin

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Yajna Govind

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

  • Thomas Piketty

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, PJSE - Paris Jourdan Sciences Economiques - UP1 - Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne - ENS-PSL - École normale supérieure - Paris - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - INRAE - Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement, WIL - World Inequality Lab)

Abstract

This paper draws on political attitudes surveys to document the evolution of political cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, four African countries that have held regular multi-party elections in the past two decades. We discuss how colonialism, the politicization of ethnic identities, and the structure of social inequalities have differentially shaped party politics in these countries. Ethnic cleavages are tightly linked to ethnic inequalities, and are highest in Nigeria, at intermediate levels in Ghana, and lowest in Botswana and Senegal. We find evidence of strong educational and rural-urban divides, which cannot be explained by ethnic or regional affiliations. Our results suggest that in these four countries, electoral politics are not only explained by patronage, valence, or leader effects, but also clearly have a socioeconomic dimension. At a time when class cleavages have partly collapsed in old Western democracies, these African democracies could well be moving towards class-based party systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Jules Baleyte & Amory Gethin & Yajna Govind & Thomas Piketty, 2020. "Social Inequalities and the Politicization of Ethnic Cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, 1999-2019," PSE Working Papers halshs-03022210, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-03022210
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://shs.hal.science/halshs-03022210
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Amory Gethin & Thanasak Jenmana, 2021. "Democratization and the Construction of Class Cleavages in Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, 1992-2019," World Inequality Lab Working Papers halshs-03215872, HAL.

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