African Economies and the Politics of Permanent Crisis, 1979-1999 / Edition 1

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This book explains why African countries have remained mired in a disastrous economic crisis since the late 1970s. It shows that dynamics internal to African state structures largely explain this failure to overcome economic difficulties rather than external pressures on these same structures as is often argued. Far from being prevented from undertaking reforms by societal interest and pressure groups, clientelism within the state elite, ideological factors and low state capacity have resulted in some limited reform, but much prevarication and manipulation of the reform process, by governments that do not really believe that reform will be effective.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This landmark work presents a searching and persuasive political explanation of Africa's failure to achieve development despite two decades of externally imposed economic reform. . . . A major contribution to our understanding of Africa's political economy." Foreign Affairs

"This landmark work presents a searching and persuasive political explanation of Africa's failure to achieve development despite two decades of externally imposed economic reform. . . . A major contribution to our understanding of Africa's political economy." Foreign Affairs

"Nicolas Van De Walle's [book] deserves to be read by all scholars interested in serious discussion of the issue.... Van De Walle's work...provides a useful road map of a jumbled and bewildering economic world." American Political Science Review

"A valuable contribution to the literature, this book broadens the discussion of current development strategies to include an in-depth analysis of the so-called neopatrimonal state as the potential source of failure of African development." CHOICE

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of Tables
Introduction 1
The Structural Adjustment Debate
Outline of the Argument
1 Approaches to Africa's Permanent Crisis 20
The Political Economy of Reform
Toward an Alternative Approach to the African Crisis
The Partial Reform Syndrome
2 Patterns in Reform Implementation, 1979-1999 64
Reform Implementation: How Much? How Sustainable?
The Evolution of Public Expenditures
3 Decision Making in Postcolonial Africa 113
The Exigencies of Neopatrimonialism
State Capacity
The Ideological Context
Concluding Remarks
4 State Responses to the Permanent Crisis 152
The Adjustment of Neopatrimonialism
The Viability of Reform
The Consequences of Partial Reform
5 The Crisis and Foreign Aid 188
The Emergence of the Postcolonial Aid Regime
The Impact of Aid on Decision Making
The Emergence of the Adjustment Regime
The Impact of the Adjustment Regime
Concluding Remarks: The Breakdown of the Adjustment
6 Democratization and the Prospects for Change 235
Africa's Democratization Wave, 1989-1995
The Economic Impact of Democratization
Comparing Government Performance
The Political Impact of Democratization
Concluding Remarks
7 Conclusion 271
A Summary of the Argument
Comparative Implications
Index 287
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