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Anne Pitcher Scott D. Taylor M.

Party Politics and Economic Reform in Africa's Democracies

Anne Pitcher. New York: Cambridge University Press, List of Tables. Utilizing a variety of methodologies and creative application of political science theory, this book examines the confluence of liberalization and party politics in nascent democracies. The title of the book refers to "Africa's democracies"; Pitcher frequently references examples from around the continent and offers quantitative assessment of a cross-section of twenty-seven sub-Saharan countries.

African Ruling Political Parties and the Making of 'Authoritarian' Democracies – ACCORD

However, most of the empirical evidence is drawn from case studies of Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa. Economic reform here is explored mainly in terms of the privatization of state-owned enterprises, a key dimension of liberalization programs. Pitcher seeks to demonstrate that differences among nations in the qualities of their democratic and party systems are related to different trajectories of institutional development—in particular, privatization of economic institutions.

The decision to commit to—and follow through with—privatization, she argues, reveals how emergent democratic governments cope with distributional conflicts.


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Her theoretical framework is based on the political scientist Kenneth Shepsle's notion of "credible commitment. Focusing her analysis on countries in which the motivational commitment was high, Pitcher examines three patterns.


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First, a context of limited democracy and a volatile party [End Page ] system—the pattern seen in Zambia, Malawi, and Mali—leads to ad hoc private-sector development and privatization. The second pattern is seen in countries that are considered illiberal democracies but have stable political parties.

This combination promotes what Pitcher calls "partisan" private-sector development and privatization; she highlights Mozambique and Ghana, where ruling parties transferred state-owned enterprises SOEs to partisan supporters.

Politics of Growth and Redistribution in a Democratic Context

The third pattern describes liberal democracies such as South Africa, Mauritius, and Cape Verde, which also boast stable party systems. This combination allows for credible commitment in the imperative sense, and parties such as South Africa's ANC have worked to build consensus and respond to organized distributional interests.

The book consists of seven chapters. The initial chapters, which lay out the theoretical foundations and the connections among state capacity, democratization, and institution-building, contribute to larger debates in comparative politics.


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But the key strength of the book lies in Pitcher's treatment of the country cases, each of which reflects the author's deep understanding of the region. Zambia has been widely credited as an aggressive privatizer.

Understanding Private Sector Development in Africa

There is a research-driven component to DV each student will read secondary literature, grey literature, and other sources to develop particular knowledge of two countries. Celestin Monga and Justin Yifu Lin, eds.

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