Title

Executive Turnovers in Sub-Saharan Africa

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-12-2019

Publication Title

International Area Studies Review

First page number:

1

Last page number:

20

Abstract

We use competing risks duration analysis to examine the role of ethnicity and governance institutions in executive turnovers of power in 47 sub-Saharan African countries between 1960 and 2008. Using measures that capture the politically important aspects of countries’ ethnic divisions, we find that as compared to countries characterized by one, and only one, potential majority ethnic grouping, leaders’ tenures are shorter in countries with a majority ethnic group that comprises a majority subgroup and that these leaders are at risk of losing power through both coups and elections. In contrast, leaders of countries with no ethnic majority group are better positioned to stave off coups, perhaps by undercutting rivals’ efforts to coordinate among different ethnic groups. Our results, however, suggest that the effectiveness of this strategy wanes over time. Although the results also suggest that the type of regime matters, they do not indicate a monotonic relationship between democracy and elections and authoritarianism and coups.

Keywords

Executive turnover; Ethnicity; Africa; Coups; Democratization; Elections

Disciplines

Political Science

Language

English

UNLV article access

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