Democracy increases education spending in Africa

03/07/05

A study publishing in the recent issue of the American Journal of Political Science addresses the question of whether or not democracies behave differently from their authoritarian counterparts when it comes to public services. Author David Stasavage's focus on education in Africa led to clear preliminary evidence that democratically elected African governments have spent more on primary education. "A government subject to multiparty competition is estimated to devote 4.4% more of its total expenditures to education than would otherwise be the case," he states. Funding for universities appears unaffected despite university students being at the forefront of African pro-democracy movements during the early 1990s.

Dr. Stasavage covered the education spending of forty-four African countries from 1980-1996 using data compiled by UNESCO. He concludes, "…while the move to democracy has not triggered a wholesale turnaround in economic policies, the evidence does show that multiparty electoral competition has been associated with greater government spending on education, and on primary education in particular."

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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