Public Release: 

Democracy increases education spending in Africa

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

A study publishing in the recent issue of the American Journal of Political Science addresses the question of whether or not democracies behave differently from their authoritarian counterparts when it comes to public services. Author David Stasavage's focus on education in Africa led to clear preliminary evidence that democratically elected African governments have spent more on primary education. "A government subject to multiparty competition is estimated to devote 4.4% more of its total expenditures to education than would otherwise be the case," he states. Funding for universities appears unaffected despite university students being at the forefront of African pro-democracy movements during the early 1990s.

Dr. Stasavage covered the education spending of forty-four African countries from 1980-1996 using data compiled by UNESCO. He concludes, "...while the move to democracy has not triggered a wholesale turnaround in economic policies, the evidence does show that multiparty electoral competition has been associated with greater government spending on education, and on primary education in particular."


This study is publishing in the latest issue of the American Journal of Political Science. Media wishing to receive a PDF, please contact

American Journal of Political Science publishes articles that make outstanding contributions to scholarly knowledge about notable theoretical concerns, puzzles or controversies in any sub field of political science. It is published on behalf of the Midwest Political Science Association.

David Stasavage is a Senior Lecturer at the London School of Economics. For more information on his research in political economy issues, please visit his website

Dr. Stasavage is available for questions or interviews.

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