How is Power Shared in Africa?
84 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2012 Last revised: 7 May 2023
Date Written: September 2012
This paper presents new evidence on the power sharing layout of national political elites in a panel of African countries, most of them autocracies. We present a model of coalition formation across ethnic groups and structurally estimate it employing data on the ethnicity of cabinet ministers since independence. As opposed to the view of a single ethnic elite monolithically controlling power, we show that African ruling coalitions are large and that political power is allocated proportionally to population shares across ethnic groups. This holds true even restricting the analysis to the subsample of the most powerful ministerial posts. We argue that the likelihood of revolutions from outsiders and the threat of coups from insiders are major forces explaining such allocations. Further, over-representation of the ruling ethnic group is quantitatively substantial, but not different from standard formateur premia in parliamentary democracies. We explore theoretically how proportional allocation for the elites of each group may still result in misallocations in the non-elite population.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?
The Foundations of Limited Authoritarian Government: Institutions and Power-Sharing in Dictatorships
By Carles Boix and Milan Svolik
Investment without Democracy: Ruling-Party Institutionalization and Credible Commitment in Autocracies
By Scott Gehlbach and Philip Keefer
Power-Sharing and Leadership Dynamics in Authoritarian Regimes
By Milan Svolik
Dictators and Their Viziers: Endogenizing the Loyalty-Competence Trade-Off
By Georgy Egorov and Konstantin Sonin
Inequality and Democratization
By Ben W. Ansell and David J. Samuels
Authoritarian Elections and Leadership Succession, 1975-2004
By Gary W. Cox
By Susan D. Hyde and Nikolay Marinov
Policy Uncertainty in Hybrid Regimes - Evidence from Firm Level Surveys
By Thomas Kenyon and Megumi Naoi