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Constituencies for reform in Ghana

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 June 2001

Michael Bratton
Affiliation:
Professor of Political Science and African Studies, Michigan State University.
Peter Lewis
Affiliation:
Associate Professor at the School of International Service, the American University, Washington, DC.
E Gyimah-Boadi
Affiliation:
University of Ghana, Legon and Executive Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), a non-governmental policy research institute.

Abstract

The attitudes of ordinary people in Africa towards the liberalisation of politics and economies are not well known. Are there popular constituencies for reform? Which specific reform measures do different social groups accept or reject? And does popular support for structural adjustment, if any, go together with support for democracy? In an effort to find answers, this article reports results of a national sample survey in Ghana conducted in July 1999 as part of the Afrobarometer. The survey finds that the constituency for democracy is broader than the constituency for market reform, which is concentrated among educated male elites. In addition, while most Ghanaians are patient with democracy and want to retain this political regime, most Ghanaians are fatigued with adjustment and want the government to ‘change its policies now’. Given this distribution of popular preferences, one can surmise that democracy will be easier to consolidate than a market-based economy.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2001 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Research was funded by USAID/Ghana and the National Science Foundation (Grant No. SBR 9727695). Data was collected under the direction of C. B. Wiafe-Akenten of CDD. Richard Jeffries, Paul Nugent and Nicolas van de Walle provided useful comments on an early draft. Without implying that others are responsible for what is written here, the authors thank all collaborators and sponsors.
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