Quality matters: Electoral outcomes and democratic health in Africa

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master's thesis
Title Quality matters: Electoral outcomes and democratic health in Africa
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
In an attempt to determine if flawed elections have a long-term detrimental impact on democratic health and consolidation I investigate the relationship between the "freeness and fairness," of elections {or electoral quality} and two indicators of democratic health: {1} popular perceptions of democratic supply and {2} popular demand for democracy. "Supply," is measured as popular satisfaction with the way democracy works plus the recognition of living in a democracy. "Demand," is measured as support for democracy plus rejection of three forms of authoritarianism, military rule, one man rule and one party rule. These indicators are aggregate measures taken from responses to Afrobarometer surveys, and have been utilized previously to assess citizen's views of democracy and the prospects for democratic growth and consolidation. Using three rounds of Afrobarometer surveys I analyze data from 18 countries and 33 elections in Africa between 1996 and 2005, using both elections and countries as the unit of analysis. The empirical results demonstrate that there is a strong correlation between electoral quality and perceived supply of democracy, but no correlation between electoral quality and the current level of demand. In other words electorates tend to see electoral outcomes as the preeminent event in determining how satisfied they are with democracy, but do not directly link the outcome of the most recent election to their support for democracy.

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