Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa

Article excerpt

Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa. By Michael Bratton, Robert Mattes, and E. Gyimah-Boadi. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Pp. ix, 466. $75.00 cloth, $34.99 paper.

This book is the result of public opinion surveys on various aspects of democratization and market reform in twelve African countries: Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, South Africa, and Ghana, It examines the views of ordinary citizens, comparing and contrasting how individuals think and behave along various variables. It discusses the way these views themselves have affected regime consolidation and the role of the rule of law, juxtaposing the findings against the existing theoretical literature on democracy and market reform. The volume is divided into thirteen chapters and four main parts. Part I looks at popular attitudes to reform, specifically democracy and market reform and how these attitudes shape economic and political behavior. Part II examines competing explanations for these attitudes, including structural, cultural, and institutional factors as well as public awareness. Part III discusses why pro or anti-reform constituencies develop, analyzing possible theories. Part FV attempts to model popular attitudes and mass behavior, while also discussing the sustainability of both democracy and market reform in the countries surveyed by the "Afrobarometer. …