Non-democratic systems

Authoritarianism, democracy and development

Tim Kelsall

This paper reviews the evidence on authoritarianism and development from the perspective of a policy-maker providing advice to an ostensibly developmental authoritarian regime. It finds that the cross-national statistical evidence on regime type and development is inconclusive, and argues that varying experiences of development under authoritarianism are better-captured by ...» more

Political systems

Timor-Leste Holds Second Round of Presidential Election

Political systems are the formal and informal political processes by which decisions are made concerning the use, production and distribution of resources in any given society. Formal political institutions can determine the process for electing leaders; the roles and responsibilities of the executive and legislature; the organisation of political representation (through ...» more

Rethinking spatial inequalities in development: The primacy of politics and power relations

Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai

This paper offers a political explanation to the problem of spatial inequality in developing countries, paying particular attention to the implications of patronage politics and inter-elite power relations for the spatial distribution of public goods. It argues that prospects for overcoming spatial inequalities in the clientelist-driven political environments of developing ...» more

Do Elected Councils Improve Governance? Experimental Evidence on Local Institutions in Afghanistan

Andrew Beath, Fotini Christia, Ruben Enikolopov

Using data from a field experiment in 500 villages, this paper studies how local institutions affect the quality of governance, as measured by aid distribution outcomes. It finds that in villages where elected councils exist and manage distributions, aid targeting improves. However, if the distribution is not clearly assigned to either the council or customary leaders, the ...» more

Community activism in Jordan

Protests in Jordan have been largely peaceful but unsuccessful in achieving real change. They have centred on improving governance, democracy and socio-economic conditions, not on overthrowing the regime. All strata of society have been involved. Findings include the following: Most of the recent protests in Jordan revolve around the socio-economic situation. Some ...» more

The Adverse Effects of Sunshine: A Field Experiment on Legislative Transparency in an Authoritarian Assembly

Edmund Malesky, Paul Schuler, Anh Tran

An influential literature has demonstrated that legislative transparency can improve the performance of parliamentarians in democracies. In a democracy, voters can sanction delegates in response to increased information about a delegate’s performance. Some have argued that, in authoritarian regimes, although delegates may not be responsive to voters, they may be responsive to ...» more

The Resilient Oligopoly: A Political-Economy of Northern Afghanistan 2001 and Onwards

Antonio Giustozzi

This report provides a detailed political economy analysis of northern Afghanistan – the provinces of Faryab, Jowzjan, Sar-i Pul, Balkh and Samangan. It notes the competition between two key figures, Atta and Dostum, who each lead a network of allied strongmen spread across the northern region. The importance of Afghanistan’s northern region stems from the economic role of the ...» more

The Dictators’ Digital Dilemma: When Do States Disconnect Their Digital Networks?

Philip Howard, Sheetal Agarwal, Muzammil Hussain

When and why do states disconnect their digital networks is the principle question examined in this paper. To answer this question, the authors built an event history database of 606 unique incidents involving 99 countries (1995-2011) in which a regime went beyond surveillance of particular websites or users, and disconnected Internet exchange points or blocked significant ...» more

The Roots of Resilience: Exploring Popular Support for African Traditional Authorities

Carolyn Logan

This examination of 2008-9 Afrobarometer survey data finds intense support for traditional authority across 19 African countries and all socio-demographic groups: large majorities believe that the institution should still play a significant role in local governance. Africans place considerable value on chiefs' role in managing and resolving conflict, their leadership qualities ...» more

Rethinking the Relationship between Neo-patrimonialism and Economic Development in Africa

Tim Kelsall

Is it possible to boost poverty-reducing economic investment and growth in Africa by working with, rather than against, neo-patrimonial politics? This study of seven 'middle African' countries shows that neo-patrimonialism can be harnessed for developmental ends – if pro-market, pro-rural policies and an institutional system for centralising and distributing economic rents with ...» more

Political Trends in Sub-Saharan Africa

This report uses data from the World Governance Indicators dataset, the Ibrahim Index, Freedom in the World, Afrobarometer and Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP) to map political trends in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2000 and 2010 both in terms of numbers and weighted by population. The population-weighted values are strongly influenced by the performance of Nigeria, Ethiopia, ...» more

Political Economy and Governance in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

This report is based on some of the recent literature on governance and political economy in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It should be read in conjunction with the helpdesk research report on ‘New Literature on Conflict in the DRC’, which includes a section on political issues. The report outlines the following key governance and political economy issues discussed in ...» more

The Democracy Advantage: How Democracies Promote Prosperity and Peace

Morton Halperin, Joseph Siegle, Michael Weinstein

Should international actors support the emergence of democracy? This book provides an empirically-grounded analysis of the development track record of poor countries with both democratic and oppressive political systems. It argues that democracy supports development and reduces the likelihood of violent conflict, recommending that democracy be made central to international ...» more

Getting to Pluralism: Political Actors in the Arab World

Marina Ottaway, Amr Hamzawy

Why has political pluralism in the Arab world not yet matured into functional democratic politics? This book examines the weakness of the secular parties, the complexities of Islamist participation in politics, and incumbent regimes' grip on power. Formal political spaces are tightly controlled and have failed to achieve democratic dividends. Informal protests are increasingly ...» more

Traditional Leaders In Modern Africa: Can Democracy And The Chief Co-Exist?

Carolyn Logan

Can democracy and the African chief co-exist? This study from Michigan State University analyses Afrobarometer survey data to explore popular perceptions of elected and traditional leaders. It finds that positive attitudes toward chiefs are not incompatible with democracy – and vice versa. Furthermore, positive perceptions of chiefs and of elected leaders are strongly linked. ...» more

Hybrid Regimes and the Challenges of Deepening and Sustaining Democracy in Developing Countries

Rocha Menocal, A, Fritz, V, Rakner, L

A wave of democratisation swept across the developing world in the 1980s and 1990s. The transformation in the nature of political regimes was remarkable: while in 1974 there were 41 democracies among the existing 150 states, by 2006, 123 of 192, or about three-fifths, of all the world’s states were considered ‘electoral democracies’, however imperfect they might be.However, ...» more

Neopatrimonial Politics, Decentralisation and Local Government: Uganda and Malawi

Diana Cammack et. al.

What is the impact of domestic politics on democratic decentralisation in ‘hybrid’ African states? This paper from the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) argues that the unique political logic that governs policymaking in these states distorts the implementation of these reforms, resulting in outcomes detrimental to development and governance objectives. It concludes that ...» more

The Logic of African Neopatrimonialism: What Role for Donors?

Diana Cammack

When sub-Saharan African government institutions do not function as expected by international aid agencies, they are often labelled dysfunctional. This Development Policy Review article explains the ‘logic’ behind neopatrimonial practices. Donors must begin to act politically – to confront directly the political logic that undermines economic development and democratic ...» more

Criminal Politics: Violence, ‘Godfathers’ and Corruption in Nigeria

Human Rights Watch

What are the key features of Nigeria’s governance crisis and how can these be addressed? This paper from Human Rights Watch documents the most important human rights abuses of Nigeria’s political process. Only determined action to reform key institutions will achieve meaningful change in the way Nigeria conducts its political business.Nigeria is an inherently difficult country ...» more

Policies towards Horizontal Inequalities

F Stewart et al

Severe horizontal inequalities (HIs), or inequalities among groups, are undesirable in themselves and can lead to violent conflict. So, what can be done to reduce them? This paper from the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE) reviews a range of policies which could contribute to reducing HIs in the political, socio-economic and cultural status ...» more