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Party Politics and Economic Reform in Africa's Democracies

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Part of African Studies

  • Date Published: May 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521738262

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About the Authors
  • In Party Politics and Economic Reform in Africa's Democracies, M. Anne Pitcher offers an engaging new theory to explain the different trajectories of private sector development across contemporary Africa. Pitcher argues that the outcomes of economic reforms depend not only on the kinds of institutional arrangements adopted by states in order to create or expand their private sectors, but also on the nature of party system competition and the quality of democracy in particular countries. To illustrate her claim, Pitcher draws on several original data sets covering twenty-seven countries in Africa, and detailed case studies of the privatization process in Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa. This study underscores the importance of formal institutions and political context to the design and outcome of economic policies in developing countries.

    • Systematically examines the adoption and performance of formal, economic, institutional arrangements across Africa
    • Links characteristics of the party system and democracy to the outcome of private sector development
    • Clearly illustrates the theoretical argument with quantitative data and clearly detailed case studies
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    • Received Honourable Mention for the 2012 Best Book Award, African Politics Conference Group

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Anne Pitcher has identified an important gap in the study of economic reform in Africa over the last couple of decades. Based on extensive fieldwork in Mozambique, South Africa, and Zambia; a familiarity with several other countries; and the creation of original datasets for 27 African countries, Pitcher uses a mix of methods to argue persuasively that the quality of democracy and the dynamics of political party systems have a decisive impact on the nature of market reform efforts across the continent. In so doing the book also makes a plea for bringing these two strands of scholarship together and makes a significant contribution to the comparative politics literature from which African cases have been largely missing. With carefully crafted cases and thoughtful theorization, the book is essential to our understanding of the politics of transition and reform of economies over the last two decades and going forward in Africa."
    Gretchen Bauer, University of Delaware

    "Full of intriguing and nuanced insights on the politics of privatization in Africa and a valuable contribution to the growing literature on institutional change. Policy makers, Africanists, and comparativists more generally will benefit from reading Pitcher’s work."
    Nancy Bermeo, University of Oxford

    "This path-breaking work offers a systematic and nuanced treatment of the politics of private-sector development in Africa. Pitcher argues that governments’ institutional choices about restructuring their economies are shaped by the political consequences of those choices. In new democracies, variations in party system stability and in the quality of democracy interact to influence states’ willingness to remain committed to economic reform in the face of domestic opposition. Drawing on extensive field research and careful quantitative analysis of privatization processes, the book brings a wealth of new data and a fresh theoretical perspective to the study of economic reform in Africa and makes an important contribution to the broader comparative literature on institutional reform."
    Carrie Manning, Georgia State University

    "The book highlights the complexity of processes of economic reform in sub-Saharan Africa, and it is a valuable addition to the comparative literature on economic reform and its effects. This work will be of great interest to Africanists and scholars of economic reform in other parts of the developing world."
    Adrienne LeBas, Perspectives on Politics

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521738262
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 153 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.44kg
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 2 maps 13 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Understanding institutional development in Africa: an introduction
    2. From motivational to imperative commitment: variation and convergence of private sector institutions across Africa
    3. The impact of party politics and democratic quality on economic restructuring
    4. Party fragmentation and 'ad hoc' privatization in a limited democracy: Zambia
    5. Stable parties, limited democracy, and strategic compromise: Mozambique
    6. Stable parties, limited democracy, and strategic compromise: South Africa
    7. Conclusion: rules, politics, and discretion.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author

    M. Anne Pitcher, University of Michigan
    M. Anne Pitcher is Professor of Political Science and African Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of Transforming Mozambique: The Politics of Privatization (Cambridge University Press, 2002) and Politics in the Portuguese Empire: The State, Industry, and Cotton, 1926–1974 (1993). She co-edited African Postsocialisms with Kelly Askew (2006) and her articles have appeared in Comparative Politics, the Journal of Modern African Studies, African Studies Review and Politique Africaine, among other publications. In 2003–2004, she was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. To explore patterns of political and economic reform across Africa, she has conducted extensive research in Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia, Angola and Uganda.


    • Received Honourable Mention for the 2012 Best Book Award, African Politics Conference Group

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