POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION IN AFRICAN CITIES
with Dr. Kristian Hoelscher, Dr. Sean Fox, Dr. Taibat Lawanson, and Dr. Jeffrey Paller; funded by the Research Council of Norway (~$930,000)
The project, Political Transformation in African Cities, seeks to identify how urban growth in Africa is affecting political and societal change. We plan to advance the empirical measurement of Africa’s urban polities to catalyze new scholarship and support evidence-based policy, understand how urban growth shapes political change within African cities, and identify how political change in cities affects broader socio-political change. Both qualitative and quantitative study will be based in five African cities: Accra, Kampala, Lusaka, Lagos, and Nairobi. The proposed output of the project is the African Cities Dataset (demographic, social, economic and political data across 360 African cities), multiple research articles, a special issue, dissemination workshops in fieldwork sites, and a Sustainable Development Goals policy report.
The project aims to answer 7 core questions:
Q1: How do political attitudes, preferences and participation vary across Africa’s human settlements?
Q2: How does urban change shift gender dimensions of political appeals and mobilization strategies?
Q3: How do the ‘micro-politics’ of informal urbanism affect the ‘meso-politics’ of city governance?
Q4: How does urban growth shape the emergence of new political entrepreneurs, parties and agendas?
Q5: How does the rise of urban political entrepreneurs shape national political dynamics?
Q6: How does urban political change shape the nature of conflict and contention beyond the city?
Q7: How does urban political change in Africa contribute to structural societal change?
THE BERGEN-BERKELEY RESEARCH PROGRAM ON POLITICAL PARTIES IN THE DEVELOPING WORLD
The Bergen-Berkeley research program focuses on political parties in the developing world because — despite being essential institutions for democracy’s proper functioning (Duverger 1954; Sartori 1976) — social scientists have been unable to explain why stable parties have taken root in some new democracies and not others. Emerging patterns of party development prompt two broad questions. First, why have parties in many new democracies remained weak, short-lived organizations? The majority of parties, particularly those in opposition, are incapable of performing the organizational tasks required for robust democracy despite acquiring greater experience with electoral competition (Rakner and van de Walle 2009). Second, why are national party systems evolving along lines that seem inconsistent with extant theories? Scholars generally find that electoral rules and social cleavages provide law-like guidance in accounting for the establishment of stable parties in advanced democracies (Cox 1997). However, recent studies have produced inconsistent findings on the relative importance of such factors in developing countries (Mozaffar et al. 2003; Brambor et al. 2006; Basedau and Stroh 2008).
With co-authors Leonardo Arriola, Danny Choi, Justine Davis, and Lise Rakner we have conducted two rounds of field work in Zambia (2016 and 2017). We have implemented two national survey experiments, one with candidates for parliament (N=116) and on with candidates for both parliament and local office (N=600).
From this project, we have papers on the following:
1. Political Defection - Paying to party: Candidate resources and party switching in new democracies (published in Party Politics)
Party switching among legislative candidates has important implications for accountability and representation in democratizing countries. We argue that party switching is influenced by campaign costs tied to the clientelistic politics that persist in many such countries. Candidates who are expected to personally pay for their campaigns, including handouts for voters, will seek to affiliate with parties that can lower those costs through personal inducements and organizational support. Campaign costs also drive candidate selection among party leaders, as they seek to recruit candidates who can finance their own campaigns. We corroborate these expectations with an original survey and embedded choice experiment conducted among parliamentary candidates in Zambia. The conjoint analysis shows that candidates prefer larger parties that offer particularistic benefits. The survey further reveals that parties select for business owners as candidates—the very candidates most likely to defect from one party to another.
2. Reproductive Rights and Policy Preferences
Women in developing countries face a public health crisis due to restrictions on their access to safe and legal abortion. Changing such restrictions would provide direct health and socio-economic benefits to women. However, it still unclear whether women politicians are more likely than their male counterparts to support liberalizing abortion access despite its clear substantive benefits. In this paper, we show that the support of women politicians in liberalizing abortion access is conditioned by their income level. We corroborate this intersectional finding through a survey experiment with an informational treatment conducted with more than 600 national and local level politicians in Zambia, a country with high rates of maternal mortality due to un-safe abortion. Our survey results find significant divergence among women politicians once we introduce an informational treatment. While women parliamentarians do not respond to the informational treatment, treated women ward councilors are 35 percentage points less likely to oppose the liberalizing proposal. Our findings contribute to the literature on substantive representation underscoring that income inequalities in developing countries condition how politicians perceive themselves, and potentially their constituents, to be constrained by the labor policy.
3. LGBTQ+ Rights and Policy Preferences
Although women have entered government in African countries at an unprecedented rate over the past three decades, it remains unknown to what extent they have acquired the influence necessary to shape policymaking. Are women able to exercise personal influence to the same degree or in the same ways as their male counterparts? We argue that women tend to be less influential than men due to the structure of their personal networks with other politicians. Prior scholarship on African politics has demonstrated that political outcomes depend on the personalties that connect politicians to one other. Based on a novel network survey among Zambian candidates, we demonstrate that women tend to be peripherally situated within networks. We find that women are systematically less likely to be connected to others in social or work networks among politicians. We also demonstrate that, while having fewer connections than men, women have connections with more important people in both social and work networks.
WOMEN AND POWER IN AFRICA: ASPIRING, CAMPAIGNING, AND GOVERNING IN NEW DEMOCRACIES
Co-editors with Leonardo Arriola and Martha Johnson; Forthcoming with Oxford University Press
This book examines how women access and exercise political power across a range of democratizing African countries. Theoretically, the book directly engages with existing hypotheses regarding women’s political representation – many of which were originally formulated in Western democracies – and generates new insights on the evolving nature of electoral competition in contemporary African politics. Empirically, the book’s chapters deploy multiple forms of data collection and assessment, including original surveys, qualitative interviews, participant observations, case studies, and text analysis of legislative speeches and media coverage.
This book approaches the study of women in African politics from three distinct points in the political process. First, we examine candidate entry, asking why women initially seek political office and how they secure party nominations. Second, we examine campaigning, asking how women vie for office, including what strategies they employ to win over voters. Finally, we turn to examining women in office, asking how women exercise political power, particularly in national legislatures. At each stage, we consider how women’s personal attributes and resources interact with the opportunities and constraints of formal and informal institutions—drawing out explicit comparisons with the experiences of men. In doing so, we demonstrate the uniquely gendered nature of women’s experiences while also highlighting the areas in which women’s experiences are similar to, or indistinguishable from, those of men.
Table of Contents:
Chapter 1. Individuals and Institutions: Situating African Women’s Political Experiences
Leonardo R. Arriola, Martha C. Johnson, and Melanie L. Phillips
Part I. Securing a Spot on the Ballot: How Women Enter Electoral Politics
Chapter 2. Same Rules, Higher Costs: Women’s Pathways to Candidacy in Zambia
Leonardo R. Arriola, Melanie L. Phillips, and Lise Rakner
Chapter 3. Party Primaries and Women’s Representation in Ghana: More Women Candidates with More Inclusive Primaries?
Gretchen Bauer and Akosua K. Darkwah
Chapter 4. Deeper Decentralization, Fewer Women? Decentralization and Women’s Candidacies
for Local Office in Benin and Malawi
Martha C. Johnson, Ragnhild Muriaas, Amanda Clayton, and Amanda Lea Robinson
Part II. Winning the Election: How Women Campaign
Chapter 5. With Hands Tied: A Women Presidential Candidate’s Pursuit of Programmatic Politics in Kenya
Chapter 6. Covering Women Candidates in Ghana: How Media Training and Reporter Awareness Reduce Gender Bias
Amanda Coffie and Peace A. Medie
Part III. Representing Women: How Women Legislate
Chapter 7. Electoral Systems and the Process of Substantive Representation: Lessons from
Namibia and Uganda
Chapter 8. Women’s Substantive Representation in African Parliaments: The Case of Burkina Faso
Alice Kang and Rachel Fisher
Chapter 9. Conclusion: An Agenda for Research and Policy
Leonardo R. Arriola, Martha C. Johnson, and Melanie L. Phillips