In fledgling democracies marked by patronage, ethnic politics, and elite capture, what motivates citizens to participate in politics?
At the nexus of political science, development studies, and public policy, Developing States, Shaping Citizenship analyzes an overlooked driver of political behavior: citizens’ past experience with the government through service provision. Using evidence from Zambia, this book demonstrates that the quality of citizens’ interactions with the government through service provision sends them important signals about what they can hope to gain from political action. These interactions influence not only formal political behaviors like voting, but also collective behavior, political engagement, and subversive behaviors like tax evasion. Lack of capacity for service delivery not only undermines economic growth and human development, but also citizens’ confidence in the responsiveness of the political system. Absent this confidence, citizens are much less likely to participate in democratic processes, express their preferences, or comply with state revenue collection. Economic development and political development in low-capacity states, Hern argues, are concurrent processes.
Erin Accampo Hern draws on original data from an original large-N survey, interviews, Afrobarometer data, and archival materials collected over 12 months in Zambia. The theory underlying this book’s framework is that of policy feedback, which argues that policies, once in place, influence the subsequent political participation of the affected population. This theory has predominantly been applied to advanced industrial democracies, and this book is the first explicit effort to adapt the theory to the developing country context.
Erin Accampo Hern is Assistant Professor of Political Economy at the College of Idaho.
“A strong argument about what explains political participation that has serious implications for both democracy and development literatures.”
—Nic Cheeseman, University of Birmingham
“A rigorous, well-informed and innovative approach to a topic of great interest to students and practitioners of development in Africa.”
—David Booth, Overseas Development Institute
"Developing States, Shaping Citizenship makes an important contribution to our understanding of how providing public services affects political behavior... this is a useful book for anyone wanting to understand how low-capacity governments affect their citizens’ political involvement." - Monkey Cage, The Washington Post- Monkey Cage, The Washington Post
"[Hern's] book represents important reading for those concerned with unfolding patterns of participation in Africa. ...Scholars and students of African politics are strongly advised to read this work for its important insights regarding the impact that service delivery has on political behavior and citizenship-in-the-making in contemporary Africa."- Peter VonDoepp
-African Studies Review