When African Parties Abandon Clientelism

Research question/goal: 

This PhD project investigates campaign strategies of presidential candidates in Ghana’s 2012 presidential elections.First, it is interested in understanding the conditions under which presidential candidates use programmatic rather than clientelistic campaign messages. The project argues that programmatic appeals are more credible among co-ethnics of the candidate and more informed voters and are hence expected to be concentrated in constituencies in which the dominant ethnic group is the same as that of the candidate and with comparatively high levels of education.Second, it tests the assumptions underlying the predictions as to what type of voters find programmatic appeals credible. It argues that co-ethnic and more informed voters are more likely to find programmatic appeals credible, compared to voters from different ethnic groups than the candidate and those voters who are less informed.Third, this PhD project investigates patterns in the allocation of campaign efforts. Assuming a positive relationship between campaigning efforts and tightness of the race, it argues that it is rational for candidates to concentrate campaign rallies in competitive constituencies rather than in strongholds of their parties and to increase campaigning efforts as the elections gets closer.

Fact sheet

2010 to 2013
Data Sources: 
Database of speeches, survey (400 voters in the capital region of Greater Accra), event dataset
Geographic Space: 
Sub-Saharan Africa