Title

Things Fall Apart: Dictatorships, Development, and Democracy in Africa

Publication Date

2012

Journal

JOURNAL OF ECONOMIC ISSUES

Volume

46

Issue

2

First Page

371

Last Page

382

Abstract

Recent events in Africa provide evidence of the failure of dictatorships to meet the needs of citizens and serve to debunk a number of development theory assumptions: that democratization is culturally determined, that democratization will follow economic development, and that dictatorships tend to produce durable, stable development. Therefore, the attempt to achieve development without democratization is risky and potentially very costly. We argue that dictatorship in Africa serves a function akin to Myrdal's backwash effects, thwarting economic progress in a cumulative and circular way, and that democratization must become a necessary criterion of engagement with African countries.

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