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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Cooperating for fairness: The role of electoral institutions in generating more egalitarian legislation in the sub-Saharan African region
by Riedl, Karin, Ph.D., City University of New York, 2013, 163; 3553203
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation examines the impact of electoral systems on legislation that should produce more socially egalitarian societies in the sub-Saharan African region. Based on a data analysis of 47 sub-Saharan African countries, this dissertation establishes that proportional representation (PR) electoral systems are significantly more likely than plurality or absolute majority electoral systems to generate legislation that establishes and protects equal rights and opportunities for vulnerable societal groups, including women, gays, and people most likely to be infected with HIV. The analysis also shows that plurality and absolute majority systems are more likely to generate legislation that threatens the equal rights and opportunities of vulnerable groups.

The dissertation provides causal explanations for the correlation between PR electoral systems and legislation that protects vulnerable groups. An in-depth examination of four countries in the sub-Saharan African region—Benin, Kenya, Namibia, and Uganda—illustrates that proportional representation electoral systems produce incentives for political parties to adopt issues that are of interest to pockets of the electorate and that do not necessarily enjoy the support of the majority of voters. The dissertation shows that the comparatively weaker relationships between individual Members of Parliament (MPs) and their largely conservative constituents allow political parties in PR electoral systems to be better equipped than their counterparts to ensure relatively stronger party discipline. As a result of this, political parties are more capable of efficiently pursuing such legislation within political parties and through more effective inter-party cooperation within committees.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Woodward, Susan
Commitee: Bowman, John, Markovitz, Irving L.
School: City University of New York
Department: Political Science
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 74/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Political science, Sub Saharan Africa Studies, LGBTQ studies
Keywords: Civil rights, Electoral systems, Gay rights, Parliament, Sub-Saharan Africa, Women's rights
Publication Number: 3553203
ISBN: 978-1-267-92501-5
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