Political Reform

CID Faculty Working Paper No. 114

Robert H. Bates
January 2005


In the last decade of the 20th Century, Africa joined the Third Wave of Democratization. Military regimes gave way to civilian governments, and no- and single-party systems to competitive political systems. The paper describes this transition; presents and evaluates two of the major explanations of it; and examines its impact on the policy choices of Africa’s governments. While reform made governments more accountable, it concludes, it may well have created incentives for them to adopt policies that destabilize the macro-economy.

Keywords: development, Africa, political economy, institutions, democratization, macro-economic policy

JEL subject codes: E35, E52, E62, E63, O19, P48, P51