Attitudes to democracy and markets in Ghana

Type Working Paper - Afrobarometer Working Paper no. 2
Title Attitudes to democracy and markets in Ghana
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1999
Page numbers 1-59
Based on national survey data collected in 1999, this paper evaluates Ghanaians’ attitudes toward the political and economic reforms of the past decade or more. We find that Ghanaians express strong support for democracy as the best form of government for their country, although fewer of them – though still a majority – are satisfied with how it has functioned in practice. Fewer still have a clear understanding of the roles and relationships among different political institutions in a democracy. Their views of recent economic reforms are much more mixed. While individual responsibility and market prices in certain sectors (e.g., for consumer goods and education) receive popular support, many Ghanaians still resist efforts to shrink the state, seeing an important role for it in providing employment and managing land and agricultural commodity markets. Nevertheless, while support for and satisfaction with market reforms lags behind that for democratic reforms, the two are closely and positively associated. While the relationship is probably reciprocal, with economic and political reform each mutually reinforcing the other, we suggest that political attitudes take precedence. Liberal political attitudes are thus more likely to give rise to liberal economic attitudes than vice versa.

Related studies