Civic Associationalism and Voter Turnout in Transitional Democracies

27 Pages Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 14 Aug 2010

See all articles by Cameron Wimpy

Cameron Wimpy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: 2010


This paper analyzes voter turnout in the context of the more recent elections in sub-Saharan Africa. The paper examines the following question: What are the effects of pre-transition civil society strength and post-transition NGO density on voter turnout in the several waves of Africa’s democratizing elections? Using data from several sources, I conduct empirical analyses and find that pre-democratic transition civil society strength exhibits a slight negative effect on post-democratic transition voter turnout. This is contrary with much of the literature that suggests that civil society fosters increased political participation. I also find that several institutional variables are still relevant when controlling for civil society and ethnic fraction-alization. Last, I determine that NGO density is not a good predictor of voter turnout at the macro level in the recent waves of African elections.

Suggested Citation

Wimpy, Cameron, Civic Associationalism and Voter Turnout in Transitional Democracies (2010). APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN:

Cameron Wimpy (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

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