Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Institute for Futures Studies

No 2013:1: Neopatrimonialism and the political economy of Economic Permormance in Africa: Critical Reflections

Thandika Mkandawire ()
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Thandika Mkandawire: The London School of Economics and Political Science, Postal: Institute for Futures Studies, Box 591, SE-101 31 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: During the last two decades the idea that neopatrimonialism is central to unravelling the facts behind Africa’s poor economic performance has been advanced by what this study will refer to as the “Neopatrimonialism School”. This paper will argue that while providing descriptions of the styles of exercise of authority, idiosyncratic mannerisms of certain colourful individual leaders, or the socio-cultural practices of states and individuals occupying different positions within them, the concept has little analytical content and no predictive value with respect to economic policy and performance. As the concept is also deployed in comparative analyses, in order to explain why Africa underperforms when compared to other regions in the developing world, this paper touches upon a number of comparisons between Africa and other parts of the developing world

Keywords: neopatrimonialism

JEL-codes: N17

62 pages, April 22, 2013

Note: Is only available in digital form.

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