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The African Political Business Cycle: Varieties of Experience

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  • Paul Mosley

    () (Department of Economics, The University of Sheffield)

  • Blessing Chiripanhura

Abstract

We seek to understand both the incidence and the impact of the African political business cycle in the light of a literature which has argued that, with major extensions of democracy since the 1990s, the cycle has both become more intense and has made African political systems more fragile. With the help of country-case studies, we argue, first, that the African political business cycle is not homogeneous, and is rarely encountered in so-called ‘dominant-party systems’ where a pre-election stimulus confers little political advantage. Secondly, we show that, in those countries where a political cycle does occur, it does not necessarily cause institutional damage. Whether it does or not depends not so much on whether there is an electoral cycle as on whether this calms or exacerbates fears of an unjust allocation of resources. In other words, the composition of the pre-election stimulus, in terms of its allocation between different categories of voter, is as important as its size.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Mosley & Blessing Chiripanhura, 2012. "The African Political Business Cycle: Varieties of Experience," Working Papers 2012002, The University of Sheffield, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:shf:wpaper:2012002
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    File URL: http://www.shef.ac.uk/economics/research/serps/articles/2012_002.html
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ramey, Garey & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Cross-Country Evidence on the Link between Volatility and Growth," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1138-1151, December.
    2. Christopher F Baum, 2006. "An Introduction to Modern Econometrics using Stata," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, number imeus, December.
    3. Helene Ehrhart, 2013. "Elections and the structure of taxation in developing countries," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 156(1), pages 195-211, July.
    4. Block, Steven A., 2002. "Political business cycles, democratization, and economic reform: the case of Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 205-228, February.
    5. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
    6. Blundell, Richard & Bond, Stephen, 1998. "Initial conditions and moment restrictions in dynamic panel data models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 87(1), pages 115-143, August.
    7. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
    8. Daniel Treisman & Vladimir Gimpelson, 1999. "Political Business Cycles and Russian Elections, or the Manipulations of Chudar," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-39, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoine Cazals & Pierre Mandon, 2016. "Political Budget Cycles: Manipulation from Leaders or Manipulation from Researchers? Evidence from a Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers halshs-01320586, HAL.
    2. Blessing Chiripanhura & Miguel Niño‐Zarazúa, 2015. "Aid, Political Business Cycles and Growth in Africa," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 27(8), pages 1387-1421, November.
    3. Resnick, Danielle, 2016. "Strong democracy, weak state: The political economy of Ghana’s stalled structural transformation," IFPRI discussion papers 1574, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Antoine Cazals & Pierre Mandon, 2015. "Political Budget Cycles: Manipulation of Leaders or Bias from Research? A Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers halshs-01238883, HAL.
    5. Antoine CAZALS & Pierre MANDON, 2016. "Political Budget Cycles: Manipulation from Leaders or Manipulation from Researchers? Evidence from a Meta-Regression Analysis," Working Papers 201609, CERDI.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    business cycles; public expenditure; politics; Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • H50 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - General

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