In the late 1990s and early 2000s, South Africa’ elite corruption busting units such as the Heath Commission and the National Directorate of Public Prosecutions investigated and successfully prosecuted a range of top level figures in the country’s ruling African National Congress. Public perceptions of corruption as measured in the 2002 and 2004 Afrobarometer surveys then fell rapidly from the very high levels measured between 1995 and 2000.
The Government of Tanzania has been battling against corruption since the early days of independence, and the efforts have been re-doubled in the last seven years with the adoption of a new and comprehensive anti-corruption strategy. Is the Tanzanian public rating these government efforts as a success?
Kenya’s NARC government rode to victory in the 2002 elections in part on the coalition’s promise to tackle the country’s deeply-rooted corruption problem. Prior to the transition, Kenya was perceived as a virtual international pariah due to extreme levels of corruption, leading the IMF to freeze its lending to Kenya in 1997. In 2002, Kenya ranked 96th out of 102 countries according to Transparency International’s annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), with a score of 1.9 out of 10.
Generalizations about African societies being pervasively corrupt are refuted in this innovative paper. Among 25,397 Afrobarometer respondents in 18 countries, 26% report paying a bribe, while 74% do not. Five hypotheses offer explanations: institutional context, inequalities of socio-economic resources, social inclusion and exclusion, social and political capital, and conflicting norms. Multilevel statistical analysis identifies as most important: contextual differences in colonial legacies, ethnic politicization, service provision, press freedom, and having social or political capital.
Corruption is a major source of slow development in Africa – the poorest region of the world. While extant research has focused on the causes and consequences of corruption at the macro-level, less effort has been devoted to understanding the micro-foundation of corruption, as well as the mechanisms through which poverty may be related to corruption and bribery. In this paper, we develop a simple model of the relationship between poverty and corruption. The model suggests that poor people are more likely to be victims of corrupt behavior by street-level government bureaucrats.
In February 2011, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni further extended his already twenty-five-year tenure by winning a resounding re-election victory. In the aftermath of the vote, which many had earlier predicted would be competitive or even result in an opposition victory, analysts and opposition supporters ascribed Museveni’s victory to his government’s massive pre-election spending on public goods, and to supposedly widespread vote-buying practices.
Vote-buying has and continues to be pervasive in many electoral regimes. Yet the relationship between vote-buying and citizen behavior, particularly in the context of the secret ballot, remains largely unknown. In this paper I study vote-buying’s effect on voter turnout in Kenya, using a nationally representative survey that includes questions about the country's 2002 presidential and parliamentary elections.
Vote buying and political intimidation are important, if epiphenomenal, dimensions of Nigerian election campaigns. According to survey-based estimates, fewer than one out of five Nigerians is personally exposed to vote buying and fewer than one in ten experiences threats of electoral violence. But when, as commonly happens, campaign irregularities are targeted at the rural poor, effects are concentrated. These effects are as follows: violence reduces turnout; and vote buying enhances partisan loyalty.
This paper explores the types of rationality that underlie popular choices of political regime in societies that recently completed a transition towards democracy. We discuss the nature of the rational bases used for preference formation by focusing on urban Brazilians. Our attention is centered on the balance between survey respondents’ evaluation of democratic performance and their views of the efficacy of democracy to solve their country’s problems. We also examine the joint impact of these attitudes on molding citizens’ preferences for a particular type of government in Brazil.
The vast majority of empirical studies focus mainly on the indirect effects of corruption on poverty using cross-section analyses of macroeconomic aggregates (growth, investment, public expenditure, etc.). To date, relatively few studies have set out to explain the logic of individual behaviour in the face of corruption and the direct effects of this scourge on the poor.
This paper addresses the corruption-trust nexus with survey data and statistical methods. Data are drawn from the Afrobarometer, a comparative series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, markets and civil society in selected African countries. This paper confirms that corruption is a major, perhaps the major, obstacle to building popular trust in state institutions and electoral processes in Africa.
The paper examines the effect of democratization on income inequality in third-wave democracies. Using data from the World Income Inequality Database, this paper will show that income inequality has risen sharply in almost every third-wave democracy. This paper attempts to explain why income inequality rises at much faster rates in developing nations vis-à-vis developed nations. The paper argue that the key to solving this puzzle lies in a better understanding of the patterns of democratization and the consequences of corruption in new democracies.
This paper evaluates the extent to which expressive voting can explain Malawi’s regional census. Specifically, are Malawians who hold regional identities more likely to be regional partisans than Malawians who identify differently? The paper does not seek to wholly reject or accept the identity hypothesis, but rather to plumb the boundaries of its explanatory power: How far can it go in explaining the census? Are there regions of the country that it explains better than others?
In this paper I offer an argument I call the “inequality trap”–how high inequality leads to low trust in out-groups and then to high levels of corruption–and back to higher levels of corruption.
Transitions to competitive, multiparty politics in African countries during the 1990s were jubilantly welcomed, both on the continent and internationally. Today, Africans enjoy unprecedented opportunities to vote, and many still revel in greater individual and political freedoms. But the full potential of democracy – including the promise of accountable governance – has yet to be fulfilled. Why has democracy – or, at least, multiparty elections – so far failed to secure better governance and greater accountability?
Elections are thought to bolster legitimacy by providing fair mechanisms for selecting leaders. In Africa, where competitive elections are often unfamiliar and imperfect, losers express much less support for their political institutions than do winners. Analysis of Round 1 Afrobarometer survey data from more than 20,000 respondents in 12 countries demonstrates that losers are less inclined than winners to trust their political institutions, consent to government authority, and feel that voting matters.
Freedom of speech is not just valuable as a democratic end in itself. It is strongly linked to popular perceptions of both media effectiveness and good governance, according to new data from Afrobarometer, collected during face-to-face interviews with 51,605 people in 34 countries during 2011-13 . People who indicate they are free to say what they think also report higher levels of trust in their leaders, lower levels of corruption, and better government performance – especially greater success in fighting corruption. Greater freedom of expression is also linked to mass media that are
A majority of people in 34 African countries condemn their governments' anticorruption efforts, according to Afrobarometer surveys of more than 51,000 people between October 2011 and June 2013.
Fifty-six percent of people said their governments have done a "fairly” or “very bad" job of fighting corruption; while just 35% say their governments have done this "fairly” or “very well". For the 16 countries surveyed since 2002, negative ratings have increased from 46% to 54% with only five countries showing a decline in these negative ratings over the last decade.
Afrobarometer survey data, covering 29 countries in sub-Saharan Africa reveal widespread citizen commitment to the principle of taxation and to taking responsibility – by paying their taxes – for national development. But taxation systems across the continent remain opaque to large majorities. Most find it difficult to know what they owe, and the public is even more in the dark when it comes to understanding how tax revenues are actually used by governments.
Transparency and accountability are hallmarks of democracy and good governance. They are the centrepiece of the Open Government Partnership, an initiative that was launched in 2011 by eight countries and has since grown to 65 countries. The Open Government Partnership is an international platform for domestic reformers committed to ensuring that their governments are open, accountable, and responsive to the needs of their citizens.
Basotho perceive an increased level of corruption in the past year, with the highest levels of perceived corruption among the police and business executives, according to Afrobarometer’s most recent survey. Survey results show that citizens are divided in their assessment of the government’s handling of the fight against corruption.
Corruption has yet to gain prominence as a public policy issue in Namibia. Most respondents to the 2014 Afrobarometer survey in Namibia do not rank corruption among the top priorities that the government needs to address.
Other surveys rank Namibia relatively high in the fight against corruption. Namibia improved in Transparency International’s 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index, from 57th in 2013 to 55th out of 175 countries. Tied with Lesotho, Namibia ranks ahead of South Africa (67th) and trails Botswana (31st) and Mauritius (47th).
Most Ghanaians perceive some or all of their government, law enforcement, and judiciary officials, as well as business executives and traditional and religious leaders, as corrupt, according to new Afrobarometer survey data. Over-time analysis reveals rising trends in the level of perceived corruption among public officials and informal leaders. Indeed, a majority of citizens believe corruption has increased over the past year.
An expanded module on personal experience of corruption, and both individual and government responses to it (developed in conjunction with Transparency International).