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Underdevelopment and Democratization in Africa

Manuel Branco

CEFAGE-UE Working Papers from University of Evora, CEFAGE-UE (Portugal)

Abstract: In the middle of the twentieth century S.M. Lipset sustained that various indicators of economic development were higher in democratic countries than in authoritarian ones, suggesting that development was as a condition to democracy. More recently, though, several authors have shown that there is no strong empirical evidence confirming development as a condition to democracy, suggesting in turn that the economic is not as important in democratization as it seemed in the 1950s. Despite this fact, there are some clues that indicate that economic factors do play an important role in democratization, but in a way different than that proposed by Lipset. In this article a revision of literature on some economic obstacles to democratization in Africa is carried out, its main conclusion being that underdevelopment decisively contributes to the difficulties many African countries experience in democratizing. One should not mistake underdevelopment with unadevelopment though, the latter being the mere absence or delay in development and the former a specific supporting role given to developing countries within the global development process. The article?s general conclusion, therefore, is that democratic development is not a question of getting richer, i.e. intensifying the development model, as much as of reforming this same model.

Keywords: Africa; Democracy; Development; Underdevelopment; Inequalities; Impoverishment. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: A10 F02 F50 F54 H11 O10 O17 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 15 pages
Date: 2008
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-afr
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