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Social Inequalities and the Politicization of Ethnic Cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, 1999-2019

Abstract : This paper draws on political attitudes surveys to document the evolution of political cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, four African countries that have held regular multi-party elections in the past two decades. We discuss how colonialism, the politicization of ethnic identities, and the structure of social inequalities have differentially shaped party politics in these countries. Ethnic cleavages are tightly linked to ethnic inequalities, and are highest in Nigeria, at intermediate levels in Ghana, and lowest in Botswana and Senegal. We find evidence of strong educational and rural-urban divides, which cannot be explained by ethnic or regional affiliations. Our results suggest that in these four countries, electoral politics are not only explained by patronage, valence, or leader effects, but also clearly have a socioeconomic dimension. At a time when class cleavages have partly collapsed in old Western democracies, these African democracies could well be moving towards class-based party systems.
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-03022210
Contributor : Caroline Bauer <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 4:44:29 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 11:09:09 AM

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Jules Baleyte, Amory Gethin, Yajna Govind, Thomas Piketty. Social Inequalities and the Politicization of Ethnic Cleavages in Botswana, Ghana, Nigeria, and Senegal, 1999-2019. 2020. ⟨halshs-03022210⟩

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