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Political participation in Africa: Participatory inequalities and the role of resources


  • Isaksson, Ann-Sofie

    () (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)


The aim of this paper is to examine the role of individual resource endowments for explaining individual and group variation in African political participation. Drawing on new data for more than 27 000 respondents in 20 emerging African democracies, the empirical findings suggest surprisingly weak explanatory power of the resource perspective, both for explaining individual variation and observed group inequalities in participation. In several cases, the relatively resource poor groups participate to a greater extent than the relatively resource rich.

Suggested Citation

  • Isaksson, Ann-Sofie, 2010. "Political participation in Africa: Participatory inequalities and the role of resources," Working Papers in Economics 462, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics, revised 01 Oct 2010.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:gunwpe:0462

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Savoia, Antonio & Easaw, Joshy & McKay, Andrew, 2010. "Inequality, Democracy, and Institutions: A Critical Review of Recent Research," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 142-154, February.
    2. Leonard Wantchekon, 2003. "Clientelism and voting behavior: Evidence from a field experiment in benin," Natural Field Experiments 00339, The Field Experiments Website.
    3. Knack, Stephen & Kropf, Martha, 1998. "For shame! The effect of community cooperative context on the probability of voting," MPRA Paper 27258, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. repec:cup:apsrev:v:81:y:1987:i:02:p:405-423_19 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Boulding, Carew & Wampler, Brian, 2010. "Voice, Votes, and Resources: Evaluating the Effect of Participatory Democracy on Well-being," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 125-135, January.
    6. Pedro C. Vicente, 2007. "Is Vote Buying Effective? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in West Africa," Economics Series Working Papers 318, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:02:p:271-294_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Bartels, Larry, 2005. "Economic Inequality and Political Representation," Papers 08-11-2005, Princeton University, Research Program in Political Economy.
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    Cited by:

    1. Isaksson, Ann-Sofie & Kotsadam, Andreas & Nerman, Måns, 2012. "The Gender Gap in African Political Participation: Individual and contextual determinants," Working Papers in Economics 530, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    2. Sangheon Lee & Megan Gerecke, 2015. "Economic development and inequality: revisiting the Kuznets curve," Chapters,in: Labour Markets, Institutions and Inequality, chapter 2, pages 39-64 Edward Elgar Publishing.

    More about this item


    Political participation; Group inequalities; Resources; Africa; Afrobarometer;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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