Persistent Authoritarianism and the Future of Democracy in Africa

DEMOCRATIZATION: DOUBT, DICTATORSHIP, DIFFUSION AND DEVELOPMENT, Nathan Brown, ed., Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011

29 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2011

See all articles by Staffan I. Lindberg

Staffan I. Lindberg

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute; Göteborg University - Department of Political Science

Sara Meerow

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Natural Resources & Environment

Date Written: January 20, 2011

Abstract

This chapter first discusses some of the established literature on the effects of natural resource abundance on democratization and then shows how an empirical analysis of the relationship supports the theoretical expectations. We also reveal an under-researched aspect of the “resource curse. On the basis of data from the forty-eight African countries over the past twenty-four years (1985-2008), we find that if such cursed states, against the odds, manage to make substantial gains in terms of democracy, they are dramatically more likely than other states to backslide and revert to authoritarianism. Natural resource richness not only tends to prevent democratization but also is a major factor in democratic backsliding and erosion of democratic gains.

Finally, we move to a multivariate analysis of democratization in Africa that is based on what the literature has found to be some of the main explanatory factors. In the end, we find that three factors stand out as the main factors systematically related to democratization: repetitive elections and significant levels of aid together push democratization and sustain democracy, while the resource curse prevents liberalization and undermines democratization.

Keywords: Africa, natural resources, resource curse, elections, democratization

JEL Classification: O10

Suggested Citation

Lindberg, Staffan I. and Meerow, Sara, Persistent Authoritarianism and the Future of Democracy in Africa (January 20, 2011). DEMOCRATIZATION: DOUBT, DICTATORSHIP, DIFFUSION AND DEVELOPMENT, Nathan Brown, ed., Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1744032

Staffan I. Lindberg (Contact Author)

Göteborg University - Varieties of Democracy Institute ( email )

Sprängkullsgatan 19
Gothenburg, Gothenburg 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se/varianter-pa-demokrati--v-dem-/

Göteborg University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 711
Gothenburg, S-405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://www.pol.gu.se

Sara Meerow

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - School of Natural Resources & Environment ( email )

440 Church St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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