The State of Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa


Bates, Robert H. 2012. “The State of Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa.” International Area Studies Review. International Area Studies Review. Copy at

Date Published:

Aug 1, 2012


Africa experienced a wave of democratization over the past 20 years and this increase in democracy, we find, positively and significantly affects income per capita. Our dynamic panel data results suggest that countries only slowly converge to their long-run income values as predicted by current democracy levels, however: African countries may therefore be currently too democratic relative to their income levels. In keeping with this possibility, a significant number of countries experience political ‘back sliding’: elections are won by the use of illicit tactics, term limits on political leaders have been overturned and there have been unconstitutional seizures of power.


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