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A better life for all? Democratization and electrification in post-apartheid South Africa

Kroth, Verena, Larcinese, Valentino and Wehner, Joachim (2016) A better life for all? Democratization and electrification in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Politics, 78 (3). pp. 774-791. ISSN 0022-3816

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Identification Number: 10.1086/685451

Abstract

Does democracy affect basic service delivery? If yes, who benefits, and which elements of democracy matter - enfranchisement, the liberalization of political organization, or both? In 1994, 19 million South Africans gained the right to vote. The previously banned African National Congress was elected promising “a better life for all”. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we exploit heterogeneity in the share of newly enfranchised voters across municipalities to evaluate how franchise extension affected household electrification. Our unique dataset combines nightlight satellite imagery, geo-referenced census data, and municipal election results from the 1990s. We include covariates, run placebo regressions, and examine contiguous census tracts. We find that enfranchisement increased electrification. In parts of the country where municipalities lacked distribution capacity, the national electricity company prioritized core constituencies of the ANC. The effect of democratization on basic services depends on the national government’s ability to influence distribution at the local level.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/toc/jop/current
Additional Information: © 2016 by the Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Sets: Departments > Government
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2016 17:15
Last Modified: 20 May 2019 02:04
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/65687

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