Institutions and Development

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Robert Bates

Robert Bates

Harvard University - Department of Government


In late-century Africa, domestic reformers and the international community prescribed political reform as a means for securing policy reform. They sought to put an end to single party and military government and introduced multiparty politics. Using a principal agent framework, the author assesses the logical validity of these efforts. And employing a game theoretic approach, he traces the impact of political reform on political stability. He employs a panel of data from both African and global samples to measure the impact of reform on the economics and politics of Africa. The evidence suggests that reform has measurably curtailed the opportunistic use of political power, failed to influence the formulation of macro-economic policy, and increased the likelihood of political disorder.

Suggested Citation

Bates, Robert, Institutions and Development. Journal of African Economies, Vol. 15, AERC Supplement 1, pp. 10-61, 2006, Available at SSRN:

Robert Bates (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-0919 (Phone)
617-496-6849 (Fax)

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