Political participation in Africa: The role of individual resources

Type Journal Article - Electoral Studies
Title Political participation in Africa: The role of individual resources
Volume 34
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 244-260
URL http://doi.org/10.1016/j.electstud.2013.09.008
This paper aims to examine the role of individual resources in explaining African political participation. If political participation is costly and requires inputs in terms of individual resources, and citizens in young developing country democracies face comparatively high participation costs and have more limited individual resource endowments than citizens in more established democracies, a resource approach to political participation should be particularly relevant in the African setting. On the contrary, however, empirical findings drawing on recent data for more than 27,000 respondents in 20 emerging African democracies suggest weak explanatory power of the resource perspective. Often, the relatively resource poor actually participate to a greater extent than the more resource rich. The results are encouraging in that they suggest fairly broad-based political participation, but also call attention to the need to evaluate the motivational forces behind the decision to take part.

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