Peter M. Lewis
This article discusses Africa’s political economy in the contemporary era. It begins with an overview of various theories, models and debates that address African economic performance before turning to a discussion of the interrelationships between institutions, politics, and economic change. It then proceeds with an analysis of the politics of economic change in Africa following years of colonization; how the development strategies charted at independence came under stress from internal and global factors in the 1970s; the shifts in development strategy and policy orientation that African states went through in the 1980s; the influence of political reform and democratization on the trajectory of African economies during the 1990s; and the acceleration of economic growth in many African countries in the twenty-first century. Finally, the article assesses African economies under the contemporary period in which enhanced performance and a more propitious context create opportunities for a shift in developmental trajectories.
This chapter describes shifts in gender roles and agency during times of conflict, noting that the changes men and women experience are interdependent and arguing that a conflict period may offer a window of opportunity to speed up normative social change. The chapter describes how qualitative data from multiple conflict sites illustrate that while women may experience an increase in economic agency during a conflict period, many men feel emasculated or disempowered when their livelihoods are disrupted during conflict. Two case studies, from the Gaza Strip and Liberia, illustrate this dynamic of female empowerment and male emasculation. The Gaza example shows a community where these dynamics are present, but changes to the underlying gender norms are limited. Liberia offers an example of a post-conflict society where gender roles have not only been relaxed but have undergone a normative change, as women have begun participating in political, economic, and civic life.
Rebecca Nelson and Richard Coe
The smallholder farmers who cultivate many of the planet’s diverse production systems are faced with numerous challenges, including poverty, shrinking farm sizes, degrading natural resources, and climate variability and change. Efforts to improve the performance of smallholder farming systems focus on improving access to input and output markets, improving farm resource use efficiency, and improving resources invested in smallholder farming. In order to support market-oriented production and self-provisioning, there is a need for greater focus on agroecological intensification (AEI) of smallholder production systems. This chapter provides an overview of some of the research frontiers supporting AEI. Market-oriented and agroecological approaches may or may not conflict, and more effort should be made to ensure that they are mutually reinforcing. To be reliable, value chains must be founded on sound production ecology. Agroecological options may be limited if farmers cannot participate in markets that support investment in the intensification and diversification of these systems. Because options must be adapted to farmers’ heterogeneous and dynamic contexts, successful AEI will require that specifics be optimized locally. Researchers must therefore understand and communicate relevant agroecological principles, and farmers and intermediaries must develop their capacity to adapt the principles to local needs and realities.
Albert O. Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States
This chapter discusses Albert Hirschman’s Exit, Voice and Loyalty, a classic known for its relatively simple argument that has found many applications in fields ranging from personal relationships and workplace relations to emigration, political parties, and more importantly, public policy. Published in 1970, the book argues how exit and voice can be used by consumers of a product or service to let producers know their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with that good. This chapter first examines the influence of Exit, Voice and Loyalty in various fields before turning to some criticisms and extensions of Hirschman’s framework. It then assesses how exit and voice relate to loyalty and social investment as well as the evidence for Hirschman’s claim of the exit–voice trade-off. Finally, it analyses evidence on the efficiency of different exit mechanisms.
This chapter examines an agroecological approach to agricultural development called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI can boost paddy yields by 50 to 100 percent using less inputs of seed, water, fertilizer, and labor. The article first considers the opportunities offered by SRI methods compared to current agricultural practices. It then looks at the effects of agroecological management with other crops and the dynamics of an agroecological innovation. The concluding section discusses broader implications for politics and society.
Ambiguous Transformations: The 2007/08 International Financial Crisis and Changing Economic Roles of the State
Over the past century, international financial crises have often helped transform the role of the state within domestic economies as well as the nature of economic relations between states. The international financial crisis of 2007–08 has so far left a very ambiguous legacy. The crisis initially seemed likely to challenge “neoliberal” economic regimes at the domestic level but that outcome has looked increasingly less convincing over time. At the international level, the crisis immediately triggered a strengthening of multilateral economic cooperation, but the significance of this cooperation and states’ enduring commitment to it are easily overstated. Given these ambiguities and the fact that current domestic and international trends are often working at cross-purposes, the world is left in a kind of interregnum in which the longer term significance of the 2007–08 crisis for the transformation of the economic role of the state is not yet clear.
Kuhika Gupta and Hank Jenkins-Smith
This chapter comments on Anthony Downs’s 1972 seminal paper “Up and Down with Ecology: The ‘Issue-Attention’ Cycle,” which tackles the concept of “public” or “issue” attention. Focusing on domestic policy, particularly environmental policy in the United States, Downs describes a process called “issue-attention cycle,” by which the public gains and loses interest in a particular issue over time. This chapter summarizes studies that directly put Downs’s propositions to the test, laying emphasis on research that probes the existence of and interrelationships among the public attention cycle, media attention cycle, and government attention cycle. It then reviews the main arguments put forward by Downs before concluding with a discussion of promising avenues for future research as well as important theoretical and methodological questions that need further elucidation.
This article discusses authoritarian government, and argues that the literature on authoritarianism can be integrated into a unified framework that explains variance in economic performance across dictatorships. It discusses the organizational theory of dictatorship and addresses the question why there are few stationary bandits. The logic of terror, which is the most direct strategy to curb the launching organization, is introduced in one section. This is followed by a study of the logic of co-optation, which is the strategy of co-opting the leadership of a launching organization by buying its loyalty. The final section focuses on the logic of organizational proliferation.
Government weakness and political fragmentation lie at the roots of the Bank’s importance in economic governance. The Bank maintained independence in appointments throughout the postwar period, acting as a breeding ground for civil servants and developing extensive technical expertise. Its independence increased after 1981, when it was freed from the obligation to buy unsold treasury bills. The Bank’s influence on policy was extensive: it was the main advocate of stable macroeconomic policies, exploiting European economic policy constraints to foster reform, and managing the exchange rate to fight inflation and promote industrial restructuring. With the third phase of Economic and Monetary Union, the Bank focused on promoting the consolidation of the banking system and modernizing it. However, the relative strengthening of domestic political institutions, the curtailing of the Bank’s independence in 2005, and the flow of powers to the European level have somewhat reduced the Bank’s functions.
David Pimentel and Michael Burgess
A rapidly growing world population and an even more rapidly growing consumption of fossil fuels are increasing demand for both food and biofuels, which will exaggerate both the food and fuel shortages around the world. Producing biofuels requires huge amounts of both fossil energy and food resources, which will intensify conflicts over these resources. Using food crops to produce ethanol raises major nutritional and ethical concerns. More than 66% of the world human population is currently malnourished, so the need for grains and other basic foods is critical. Growing crops for fuel squanders land, water, and energy resources vital for the production of food for people. Using food and feed crops for ethanol production has brought increases in the prices of US beef, chicken, pork, eggs, breads, cereals, and milk of 10% to 20%. In addition, Jacques Diouf, Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that using food grains to produce biofuels is already causing food shortages for the poor of the world. Growing crops for biofuel ignores the need to reduce natural resource consumption and exacerbates the problem of malnourishment worldwide by turning food grain into biofuel.
Tanja A. Börzel and Nicole Deitelhoff
Business has become an important governor in areas of limited statehood (ALS). While the shadow of hierarchy is not necessary to incentivize companies, their contributions to governance still seem to require a minimum of statehood to be effective and legitimate. These findings point to a dilemma for (business) governance in ALS: companies are most likely to provide collective goods and services beyond their purview where those are needed the least to compensate for the lack of state governance. Yet, the literature has mostly focused on multinational companies that have their headquarters in democracies with consolidated statehood. Future research should focus on business in the non-OECD world to explore whether and to what degree consolidated statehood is necessary for governance by business to be effective and legitimate.
This article discusses three different approaches to the study of democratic redistribution. It starts by considering the recent literature on capitalism as an economic system, and how the democratic and economic institutions may relate to each other. It then introduces the work that places coalitional politics at the very centre of the analysis.
Pepper D. Culpepper
This chapter explores the contributions of historical institutionalist scholarship to understanding preference formation in business. It critiques the analytical drift of the literature away from some conceptual sites of essential political action in democratic capitalism: issues of power, common trends across capitalist countries, and the role of voters in structuring the character of political conflict among interest groups and political parties. The chapter proposes a governance space, defined by the two dimensions of political salience and institutional formality, as a way to combine insights about the importance of institutional context with the structurally uneven allocation of power resources in capitalism.
Peter A. Hall
This chapter reviews the principal developments affecting the states that preside over liberal market economies in the decades since World War II. After considering the perspectives offered by modernization, neocorporatist, and varieties of capitalism literatures on the liberal state, it reviews the relatively interventionist policies of a Keynesian era running into the 1970s. It summarizes the principal reforms of the neoliberal era that began in the 1980s, arguing that neoliberal discourse undermined the authority of the state, while policies based on privatization, deregulation, and contracting-out altered its operation. New forms of finance used to support demand-led growth strategies raised the risks of financial crisis, and limits on the fiscal and activist roles of liberal states limit their capacities to engage in the public investment in education, research, and infrastructure that are crucial to their long-term economic success.
Kellee S. Tsai
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to monopolize political power against what are conventionally understood to be powerful odds against authoritarian survival: rapidly growing commercial and middle classes, official venality, social instability, and the demonstration effect of regime transition in former socialist countries. How has China’s party-state managed to redefine itself while presiding over one of the most successful cases of economic development? This chapter builds on insights derived from historical institutionalism and proposes that the concept of “adaptive informal institutions” may elucidate the causal mechanisms underlying party-state resilience. The case of China demonstrates that adaptive informality may facilitate reforms that revitalize state institutions on the verge of anachronistic irrelevance and decay. The party-state’s institutional adaptations for channeling political participation fall short of formal transition to democracy, but they provide a certain degree of stability in an otherwise volatile social and political climate.
This article examines the relationship between civil conflict and development. After outlining definitions of conflict and development, it considers a number of explanations of why they are empirically related. The extent to which conflict, such as civil war, is due to development is discussed, along with how conflict affects development. The article then describes the routes through which conflict reduces development, namely destruction, disruption, diversion, and dis-saving. It also considers why development reduces the risk of conflict, paying particular attention to poverty as motivation for conflict, opportunities for violence entrepreneurs, poor state capacity, decreased lootability in diversified economies, higher costs to violence in densely interacting societies, indirect effect through political institutions, and education and the cognitive ability to maintain peaceful relations. The article concludes by assessing future prospects for the conflict–development linkage, as well as the role of development in reducing incidences of armed conflict worldwide.
This article focuses on coalition government, beginning with important empirical work that has motivated an institutionalist shift in the study of government coalitions. It discusses the most widely used institutionalist approaches, along with two alternative approaches. The consequences of the institutionalist perspective for empirical work are then discussed, and this is followed by a section on recent work that relies on structural estimation as its methodology to study coalition government empirically.
Leander Heldring and James A. Robinson
In this article, we evaluate the impact of colonialism on development in sub-Saharan Africa. In the world context, colonialism had very heterogeneous effects, operating through many mechanisms—sometimes encouraging development, sometimes retarding it. In the African case, however, this heterogeneity is muted, making an assessment of the average effect more interesting. To draw conclusions, it is necessary to know not just what actually happened to development during the colonial period but also what might have happened without colonialism and its legacy. In light of plausible counterfactuals, colonialism probably had a uniformly negative effect on development in Africa. To develop this claim, we distinguish between three sorts of colonies, each with a distinct performance within the cultural period, different counterfactuals, and varied legacies.
This article has a comparative perspectives on the role of the state in the economy. It first describes the challenges that are posed to the thesis that state actors possess the instrumental capacity to engage in macroeconomic demand management. It also discusses the literature analyzing the capacity of state actors to effectively intervene on the supply side of the economy to create the conditions for growth, stability, and expansion. The article also presents an outline of how these debates eventually lead to important questions about the relative explanatory power of arguments.
Philipp Genschel and Laura Seelkopf
This chapter examines the premise of the competition state thesis, which highlights an incremental, undramatic, and peaceful transition of state form from welfare to “competition state.” According to this thesis, the basic institutions of the welfare state remain in place but are gradually trimmed, rearranged, and “refunctionalize[d]” to make society fit for competition. The competition state differs from the welfare state in the sense that it promotes “increased marketization” by liberalizing cross-border movements, re-commodifying labor, and privatizing public services. Whereas the welfare state domesticated capitalism, the competition state vies for capital. This chapter first considers some of the prominent proponents of competition state thesis, including Philip Cerny, Bob Jessop, and Joachim Hirsch. It then looks at the causal mechanisms allegedly driving the rise of the competition state thesis before highlighting its problems by focusing on three propositions: structural determinism, convergence, and the demise of the welfare state.