Academic journal article African Studies Review

The Politics of Government Expenditures in Tanzania, 1999-2007

Academic journal article African Studies Review

The Politics of Government Expenditures in Tanzania, 1999-2007

Article excerpt


What allocation strategy do hegemonic party regimes pursue in order to increase their level of electoral support? Although the literature has established that targeting resources to marginally supportive districts is the most effective distributive strategy for competitive democracies, it has not been possible to make a clear prediction about the best strategy for hegemonic party regimes. This article seeks to address this puzzle by examining the patterns by which expenditures were distributed by the Tanzanian ruling party, Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), across the country's 114 mainland districts from 1999 through 2007. Overall, this study finds that CCM targeted expenditures toward those districts that elected the party with the highest margin of victory.

Résumé: Quelle stratégie d'allocation de fonds les régimes de gouvernement hégémonique utilisent-ils en vue d'augmenter leur niveau de soutien électoral? Bien que les études sur le sujet aient montré que l'envoi des ressources disponibles vers des circonscriptions marginalement favorables était la stratégie de répartition la plus efficace pour les démocraties compétitives, il n'a pas été possible de faire une prédiction claire pour déterminer de même la meilleure stratégie de soutien des régimes de gouvernement hégémonique. Cet essai aborde les enjeux de ce puzzle en examinant les modes de répartissement des ressources mis en place par le parti dirigeant tanzanien Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) à travers les 114 circonscriptions du pays entre 1999 et 2007. Globalement, cette étude évalue que le CCM a concentré ses ressources sur les circonscriptions dans lesquelles le parti avait été élu avec la plus grande marge de victoire.

Editors' note: The following article was the winner of the 2010 graduate student essay prize from the African Studies Association.

What are the patterns by which hegemonic party regimes in Africa redistribute resources to constituents? Unlike the situation in well-established democracies, where the goal of an allocation strategy is to reelect the incumbent, the almost guaranteed victory of a hegemonic party regime replaces this short-term strategy with the longer-term goal of achieving a formidable election victory in order to consolidate political power. Only by winning the election with a high margin of victory can the ruling party maintain an institutional monopoly on electoral rules and project the "image of invincibility" that is necessary to prevent the emergence of opposition competition (Magaloni 2006:9).

Despite the consensus about the electoral goal of hegemonic party regimes, there is theoretical disagreement about the long-term distributive strategy that generates the greatest electoral returns and mixed empirical evidence about the actual patterns of distribution among these regimes. Several authors argue that African hegemonic party regimes target resources toward districts with the most loyal followers due to the entrenched logic of political patronage in Africa, where patrons are expected to reward clients financially in exchange for political backing and supporters would see a lack of such rewards as a sign of betrayal or incapacity (see Baldwin 2005; Miguel & Zaidi 2003). Patronage, or the exchange of favors or rewards for political support, is endemic within African politics where formal administrative, political, and economic institutions are undermined by informal networks of political exchange and appropriation of public resources for private gain (see Bratton & van de Walle 1997; van de Walle 2001). According to Calvo and Murillo (2004:743), rulers distribute patronage with the expectation that it "contributes to the stability of electoral coalitions by shaping expectations about the future distribution of public jobs over a stable network of voters." In a study of education expenditures in Ghana, for example, Miguel and Zaidi (2003) attribute patronage politics to their finding that the ruling party targeted expenditures toward the most politically supportive administrative districts. …

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