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Briefing paper

BP4: Poverty, poverty measurement, and democracy in Southern Africa

15 Apr 2015

How does poverty shape the prospects for consolidating democratic government?

Political analysts have long believed that sustaining democratic government in a poor society is harder than in a relatively wealthy one.   This is a sobering thought for all those committed to democracy in Africa.  

To explore the political dynamics of poverty, we use data from seven 1999-2000 Afrobarometer surveys in Southern Africa to develop an index of poverty and then test its impact on political attitudes and behaviours critical to democracy.