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Much of the scholarship on democratization has a myopic focus on economic conditions. Using Afrobarometer and Latinobarómetro survey data, the article examines how crime victimization and perceptions of crime influence citizens' attitudes toward democracy. After elaborating on several theoretical frameworks that help illuminate the relationship between crime and support for democracy, the article applies fixed effects and generalized hierarchical linear models to the cross-national survey data. The results show that a citizen's perception of public safety is as important a factor as any socio-economic variable in predicting support for and satisfaction with democracy. This finding is important because widespread support for democracy among the citizenry is considered a requisite for the consolidation of democracy.
Much of the scholarship on democratization has a myopic focus on economic conditions. Using Afrobarometer, Asianbarometer and the Latinobarometer survey data, the authors examine how crime victimization and perceptions of crime influence citizens’ trust in political institutions and attitudes toward democracy. The results show that a citizen’s perception of public safety is important factor in predicting institutional trust and support for the existing democratic regime. This finding is important because widespread support for democracy and its institutions among the citizenry is considered a requisite for the consolidation of democracy.
Ethnicity has emerged as a prominent issue in electoral contests around the world, particularly in countries that have embraced multiparty elections in the past few decades. What factors influence ethnic mobilization and the politicization of ethnicity? Although a number of factors have been hypothesized to influence the politicization of ethnicity in the comparative politics literature, many of these relationships have not been established through empirical testing. This study empirically tests a number of the hypotheses derived from the literature with our unique data set on candidates' ethnic appeals in the Nigerian 2007 gubernatorial elections. We find that political parties' use of ethnic appeals is correlated with the competitiveness of the election, nature of the campaign, partisan attachments, and social, demographic, and economic characteristics of the states. Of particular note is the finding that the salience of ethnic identity in the electorate influences political leaders' use of ethnic appeals.
The question ‘Who votes in Africa?’ has yet to receive significant attention. We use Afrobarometer survey data to assess the determinants of voting for over 17,000 voting-age adults in 10 African countries. We find that Africans are driven by many of the same forces as their counterparts elsewhere. The agencies of mobilization are important in determining who votes in these countries. Notably, identifying with a political party is one of the most important predictors of voting. Thus, although political parties may have questionable democratic credentials in many African countries, ultimately, political parties serve the function of getting citizens to the polls. Certain attitudes also influence individuals' decisions of whether to vote, including support for democracy. Among the demographic variables, age registers a significant, positive relationship with voting. Interestingly, the study’s findings regarding the socio-economic status (SES) model are contradictory. Educated Africans in these countries are significantly more likely to vote than their less educated counterparts, as the SES model would lead one to expect. Contrary to what one would expect based on the SES model, more impoverished Africans are also significantly more likely to vote than their wealthier counterparts. In addition, the institutional and political context influences individuals' propensities to vote.
Many people consider voting the most important form of political participation in a democracy. To this point, no aggregate-level, cross-national studies have been done on the factors that affect voter turnout in Africa. This article seeks to fill the gap in the literature by examining the factors that influence voter turnout in sub-Saharan Africa's multiparty regimes that have had two consecutive elections since the democratic transitions in the 1990s. Many of the central findings of the research on voter turnout in other regions reappear in the examination of voter turnout in Africa. The authors find that two institutional variables—type of electoral formula and concurrency of presidential and legislative elections— have significant effects on electoral turnout. Media exposure has a significant positive relationship with voter turnout. The number of elections a polity has had also appears to affect levels of voter turnout.
The relationship between nonformal education (NFE) and democracy has not been subject to empirical examination. Given the prominence that NFE has gained in many countries, such as those in Africa, this inattention is unfortunate. Using data from a survey involving a probability sample of 1484 Senegalese citizens, this paper examines the effects of education, both formal and nonformal, on political participation among rural Senegalese. The results indicate that NFE and formal education tend to have similar effects on several political behaviors, but the effect of NFE generally appears to be stronger. NFE has a positive impact on political participation. NFE increases the likelihood that one will vote and contact officials regarding community and personal problems. In addition, NFE has a strong, positive impact on community participation.
Civic education has been considered a way in which the behaviours and attitudes associated with democratic citizenship can be fostered among the members of a society. Since the emerging democracies are hard-pressed to develop a political culture supportive of democratic rule, civic education has been identified as one way such a political culture can be constructed. Recent studies, however, point to the limited reach of such programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on survey data, others have failed to find even a relationship between formal education and democratic attitudes in parts of Africa. On the other hand, despite the prominence nonformal education has gained in many developing countries, such as those in Africa, the effect of nonformal education on political attitudes has not been subject to empirical testing. Using data from a survey involving a probability sample of 1,484 Senegalese citizens, this article examines the effects of education, both formal and nonformal, on political attitudes among rural Senegalese. Both nonformal and formal education are found to increase the likelihood that people will embrace democratic, tolerant attitudes in Senegal.
In their study of 12 Latin American countries, Mainwaring and Scully develop a framework to assess levels of party system institutionalization and explore the impact of the degree of party system institutionalization on democratic consolidation. In this paper, we provide a description of the levels of party system institutionalization in the African context. Employing three criteria adapted from the framework of Mainwaring and Scully, we systematically measure the level of party system institutionalization in 30 African countries. More specifically, we examine (1) regularity of party competition; (2) extent to which parties manifest roots in society; and (3) institutionalization, or the extent to which citizens and organized interests perceive that parties and elections are the means of determining who governs in the 30 countries. Our findings indicate that the level of party system institutionalization is generally lower in African countries than in those of Latin America. However, we find that the length of time during which a country has experience with democracy is an important factor in determining the level of party system institutionalization. The difference in performance between the five long-standing African democracies and those countries new to multipartyism was notable on all of the criteria.