Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

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

Kroth, Verena, Larcinese, Valentino ORCID: 0000-0002-7780-3093 and Wehner, Joachim ORCID: 0000-0002-1951-308X (2016) A better life for all? Democratization and electrification in post-apartheid South Africa. Journal of Politics, 78 (3). 774 - 791. ISSN 0022-3816

PDF - Published Version
Download (7MB) | Preview

Identification Number: 10.1086/685451


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:
Additional Information: © 2016 by the Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 10 Mar 2016 17:15
Last Modified: 17 Feb 2024 01:15

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics