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Electoral Consequences of Colonial Invention: Brokers, Chiefs, and Distribution in Northern Ghana

  • Noah L. Nathan (a1)

Abstract

This article studies the effects of traditional chiefs—a common type of broker—on voters’ ability to extract state resources from politicians. Using original data from Northern Ghana, the author shows that chieftaincy positions invented by colonial authorities are especially prone to capture, leaving voters worse off compared both to more accountable chiefs whose authority dates to the precolonial period and to voters who lack formal chiefs who can serve as brokers. The latter comparison exploits exogenous assignment of ethnic groups to the colonial invention of chieftaincy in the late nineteenth century. The findings suggest that whether voters benefit from brokers amidst clientelistic electoral competition depends on the accountability relationship between brokers and their clients.

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Electoral Consequences of Colonial Invention: Brokers, Chiefs, and Distribution in Northern Ghana

  • Noah L. Nathan (a1)

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