On political competition and economic growth

I have a new paper in the South African Journal of Economics with a somewhat interesting finding.

This paper examines the impact of political competition on economic growth. In this paper, I show that internal political dynamics, distinct from the type of political system, can have different effects on growth. Using results from the 1994 and 1999 elections in South Africa, I show that municipalities with higher levels of political competition have shown lower levels of economic growth. I use individual level surveys to show that this political competition is associated with political paralysis, dissatisfaction with the current democracy and government and lower optimism about the future.

Of course the implication is not that you should aim for little competition, but that you may want to think about the side-effects of having competitive politics which can make decision making, for better or for worse, difficult. Also, interesting outlier we have there 😀. You can find the full paper here. Note: it ended up being significantly different from the working paper version.


Also, in case you have not heard, the Oxford Handbook on Nigerian Politics was published recently and it contains work by a very good collection of academics on a wide range of issues regard politics in Nigeria. I have two chapters in it, “State Formation in Precolonial Nigeria” and “Fiscal Policy during Boom and Bust”, the second written with Prof. Kingsley Moghalu. The books are notoriously expensive but if you get the chance it is worth reading.