Investor-voters and electoral volatility in Sub-Saharan Africa
Asingo, Patrick O
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Do living conditions influence electoral volatility in Sub-Saharan Africa? This research question is informed by the tendency of free and fair elections to redistribute votes and seats among political parties. The redistribution is a zero sum game, whereby seats/votes gained by a party/ candidate, are simultaneously lost or ‘deserted’ by another party/candidate. The study focuses on 30 Sub-Saharan African countries, backed by case studies of Kenya and South Africa. Using the investor-voter model, a refined measure of electoral volatility, and a variety of statistical methods, the study finds support for the hypothesis that: better living conditions are correlated with low volatility. Although South African provincial aggregate living conditions appeared puzzlingly correlated with high volatility, this turned out to be an artifact of some underlying strategic shifts among anti-ANC voters from NNP to DA. Since the shifts are driven by economic voting, the hypothesis holds even in the South African case.