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  • Cited by 7
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    This chapter has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Higashijima, Masaaki and Houle, Christian 2018. Ethnic Inequality and the Strength of Ethnic Identities in Sub-Saharan Africa. Political Behavior, Vol. 40, Issue. 4, p. 909.

    Ferree, Karen E. Jung, Danielle F. Dowd, Robert A. and Gibson, Clark C. 2018. Election Ink and Turnout in a Partial Democracy. British Journal of Political Science, p. 1.

    Peiffer, Caryn and Rose, Richard 2018. Why Are the Poor More Vulnerable to Bribery in Africa? The Institutional Effects of Services. The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 54, Issue. 1, p. 18.

    Houle, Christian and Bodea, Cristina 2017. Ethnic inequality and coups in sub-Saharan Africa. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 54, Issue. 3, p. 382.

    Houle, Christian 2017. Inequality, ethnic diversity, and redistribution. The Journal of Economic Inequality, Vol. 15, Issue. 1, p. 1.

    Justesen, Mogens K. 2015. Too Poor to Care? The Salience of AIDS in Africa. Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 68, Issue. 1, p. 89.

    Krishna, Anirudh and Schober, Gregory 2014. The Gradient of Governance: Distance and Disengagement in Indian Villages. The Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 50, Issue. 6, p. 820.

  • Print publication year: 2008
  • Online publication date: May 2010

2 - Poor People and Democratic Citizenship in Africa


If democracy consists of “rule by the people,” then the values, attitudes, and behaviors of ordinary folk are central to considerations of the fate of democracy. If it turns out that democratic stability in the medium- to long-term depends on the economic well-being of citizens, then democracies can be expected to be especially fragile in world regions where many people live in poverty.

This chapter explores the relationship of poor people to democratic citizenship in sub-Saharan Africa. It is prompted in part by intriguing research results emerging from South Asia that suggest that poor people are equally or more likely to hold democratic values, support democratic regimes, and vote in democratic elections. For example, Yadav finds for India in the 1990s “a participatory upsurge” among scheduled castes and tribes leading to “turnout of the lower orders of society…well above that of the most privileged groups” (2000: 120, 133). Bratton, Chu, and Lagos have replicated this result using National Election Survey data for India, confirming that Indians of lower material status were significantly more likely to cast a ballot in the 1999 election (2006).

To test these and related results in African contexts, data are drawn from the Afrobarometer. The Afrobarometer is a series of comparative national surveys that, among other things, measures the economic living conditions and political orientations of ordinary Africans. Each national survey – covering fifteen countries in Round 2 – is based on a probability sample representing the adult population eighteen years and older.

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Poverty, Participation, and Democracy
  • Online ISBN: 9780511756160
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