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Determinants of Election Outcomes: New Evidence from Africa

Kjell Hausken () and Mthuli Ncube ()

African Development Review, 2014, vol. 26, issue 4, 610-630

Abstract: type="main" xml:lang="en"> Any election may result in six possible situations. The incumbent or challenger may win according to the official results. If the incumbent wins, he may remain in power, or a standoff or coalition may ensue. In contrast, if the challenger wins, he may become the new incumbent, or a standoff or coalition may ensue. Using a database of all presidential and legislative elections in Africa over the period 1960–2010, we found the following distribution of election outcomes: the incumbent wins with no contestation 63.9 per cent, coalition 6.4 per cent, and standoff 1.2 per cent. The incumbent loses and accepts defeat 15.9 per cent, coalition 12.3 per cent, and standoff 0.3 per cent. We have then tested empirically 22 hypotheses on the determinants of election outcomes in Africa using a discrete-choice multinomial logit model. We study the impact of the shape of the economy, the provision of public goods, education, social diversity, number of years in power of the incumbent, whether the incumbent is a military official or not, the strength of the opposition, natural resource endowment, colonial origins of the country, and whether the election is presidential or legislative.

Date: 2014
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