Three Essays in African Political Economy

Abstract : This work is organized in three (3) chapters. the first chapter, « Electoral Institutions and Political Polarization: An Experiment on Approval Voting in Benin » coauthored with J-F Laslier, K.Van Der Straten and L. Wantchekon, focus on the institutions ‘s goal in the division of societies. The main idea is that political institutions can shape political preferences and influence the formation of groups within societies. Some system such Simple plurality and runoff majoritarian voting systems tend to force voters to “choose sides,” potentially exacerbating political, social, ethnic, or religious divisions. Voting rules that allow voters to simultaneously select several candidates should, in theory, avoid these drawbacks, and might thus lead to less polarized political outcomes. This chapter provides experimental evidence in support of this insight. Our data originates from an experiment on Approval Voting that took place during the 2011 presidential election in Benin, a democratic, multi-ethnic country in western Africa, with a political landscape characterized by a strong social and political north-south divide. In contrast to the official runoff rule used in Benin for this presidential election, we proposed Approval Voting to voters, whereby they can vote simultaneously for several candidates. We find that this electoral institution leads to an increase in the overall support for more consensual candidates. We also find that, under Approval Voting, like under Proportional Representation systems, ethnic voting does not disappear, and might even increase. The second chapter continue in the logic of voting motivation by doing some laboratory experiment about electoral clientelism. We focus on the vote buying and electoral promises. We wanted to show the impact on electoral clientelism on the election outcome in one way and in the second way, see if there is a link between modernization and clientelism. We did experiment in two different places (Burkina Faso and France) show that the impact of electoral clientelism is more relevant in Africa countries than in developed countries. The third chapter investigates on tax compliance in Africa by using data from about 29 African countries. The goal is to analyze the citizens’s behaviors when they have to contribute to public funding by paying tax. We want to know which factors may motivate people have a compliance attitude with tax. The main contribution of this research is the effect of country population and the existence of natural resources. We found that citizens living in countries with natural resources are less willing to pay taxes than citizens living in countries without natural resources. Also, we showed that the population matters. Indeed, in the most populated countries, fraud is higher than less popular countries. We then establish for each group of countries the factors for which they should act to have a tax compliance of their citizens. This can help countries to have a great public finance and become more independent from foreign aid.
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Patoinnéwendé Kabré. Three Essays in African Political Economy. Political science. Université Paris-Saclay, 2016. English. ⟨NNT : 2016SACLX102⟩. ⟨tel-01722699⟩

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