Comparative Politics & Development (CP&D)

Comparative Politics and Development is a 60-hour (9 cfu) course taught between January and March. Lectures take place in Via Conservatorio on Mondays (room 27), Tuesdays (room 2) and Wednesdays (room 25) from 8.30 to 10.30.

The course aims at examining the politics of developing areas through the lenses of comparative political analysis. It draws primarily on concepts and theories used in the contemporary study of politics in advanced economies, including well-established works on the state, on political regimes, and on specific political institutions and processes. The course also adds to the above issues a more specific focus on aspects of politics that are more commonly associated with developing and emerging countries, such as authoritarian rule, civil conflicts, ethnic politics and corruption. The empirical focus is primarily on sub-Saharan Africa.

List of lectures

  1. Development – Key notions, theories and issues
  2. Development in Africa
  3. Development in Africa – Ghana
  4. The state in Africa
  5. The state in Africa – Somalia
  6. The state in Africa – Congo-DRC
  7. Civil wars
  8. Civil wars – Ethiopia
  9. Ethnic politics
  10. Ethnic politics – Nigeria
  11. Democratization in Africa – Leaders and development
  12. Democratization in Africa – South Africa

Students’ class presentations

The developmental state (S.Pala, V.Rossi, A.Farahani). Reading: Öniş, Ziya, “The Logic of the Developmental State”, Comparative Politics, 24 (1), 1991, pp. 109-126

Development aid and donors (M.Bozzi – A.Rasulzade – S.Abbasi). Reading: Andrews, Nathan, “Foreign aid and development in Africa: What the literature says and what the reality is”, Journal of African Studies and Development, 1(1), 2009, pp. 8-15

Corruption and development (S.Marseguerra, T.Maitre, E.Besseghini, L.Mathe). Reading: Gray, Cheryl – Kaufmann, Daniel, “Corruption and Development“, Finance and Development, March 1998, pp.7-10

Continental and regional integration in Africa (Elena Biaggi, Eleonora Passerò, Letizia Piccolo). Readings: Murithi, Tim, “The African Union and the Institutionalisation of Pan-Africanism”, in Routledge Handbook of Pan-Africanism, London, Routledge, 2020 pp. 373-384; Qobo, Mzukisi, The challenges of regional integration in Africa In the context of globalisation and the prospects for a United States of Africa, ISS, 2007

Migration and development (Louise Deville, Ines Amzal, Karol Kedzierski, Nina Komorek). Reading: Skeldon, R., “International migration as a tool in development policy: a passing phase?”, Population and Development Review, 2008, 34(1): 1-18

Covid-19 and development (A.Della Vecchia, M.Chignoli, V.Salvetti, S.F.Vitelli). Reading: Vaziralli, Shahid, A social protection response to COVID-19 in developing countries, IGC, 2020

Media, social media and politics in Africa (E.La Barbera, F.Cristiano, E.Benocci, E.De Guétonny, P.Galinta). Reading: Dwyer, Maggie – Molony, Thomas, Social media and politics in Africa: democracy, censorship and security, 2019, pp. 1-19.

Presidential term limits in Africa (L.Parry, S.Tauyekel, E.Tempesta, P.Tres, 2022). Reading: Siegle, J. & Cook, C., Presidential Term Limits Key to Democratic Progress and Security in Africa, in Orbis, 65, 3, 2021, pp. 467-482

Required readings for all students

Notes for students attending classes:
The first part of the exam (14 February) will centre on all class material (i.e. lectures and students’ presentations) and on readings 1 to 13 in the list below. The second part of the exam (25 March) will centre on all class material (i.e. lectures and students’ presentations) and on readings 14 to 30 in the list below. Students attending classes must add all the readings listed above, each one covering one of the topics addressed by class presentations and suggested by presenters themselves, but they can skip the readings marked in bold in the list below.

  1. Sen, Amartya, “What is development about?”, in Meier, Gerald – Stiglitz, Joseph (eds), Frontiers of Development economics. The future in perspective, Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 506-513
  2. Whitfield, Lindsay, “An introduction to the political economy of development”, in Cheeseman, Nic – Whitfield, Lindsay – Death, Carl (eds), The African Affairs Reader. Key Texts in Politics, Development, and International Relations, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 115-127
  3. Hirsch, Alan – Lopes, Carlos, «Post-colonial African economic development in historical perspective», Africa Development, 65 (1), 2020, pp. 31-46
  4. Akyeampong, Emmanuel – Bates, Robert – Nunn, Nathan – Robinson, James, “Africa – the historical roots of its underdevelopment”, in id. (eds), Africa’s development in historical perspective, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2014, pp. 1-28
  5. Acemoglu, Daron – Robinson, James, “Rents and economic development: The Perspective of Why Nations Fail”, Public Choice, 2019, 181, pp. 13-28
  6. Acemoglu, Daron – Robinson, James, “Why is Africa poor?”, Economic History of Developing Regions, 25 (1), 2010, pp. 21-50
  7. Fortin, Jessica, “A tool to evaluate state capacity in post-communist countries, 1989–2006”, European Journal of Political Research, 49, 2010, pp. 654-686
  8. Cheeseman, N., Death, C., & Whitfield, L., “An Introduction to the African State”. In N. Cheeseman, L. Whitfield, & C. Death (eds.), The African Affairs Reader: Key Texts in Politics, Development and International Relations, Oxford University Press, 2017, pp. 15-29
  9. Herbst, Jeffrey, “The challenge of state-building in Africa”, in Herbst, Jeffrey, States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control, Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2000, pp. 11-31
  10. Jackson, Robert – Rosberg, Carl, “Why Africa’s Weak States Persist: The Empirical and the Juridical in Statehood”, World Politics, 35(1), 1982, pp. 1–24
  11. Reid, Stuart A., “Congo’s slide into chaos. How a state fails”, Foreign Affairs, January-February 2018, pp. 97-117
  12. Olivier de Sardan, Jean-Pierre. 1999. “A Moral Economy of Corruption in Africa?”, The Journal of Modern African Studies 37(1): 25-52.
  13. Goldsmith, Arthur A., “Predatory versus developmental rule in Africa”, Democratization, 11 (3), 2004, pp. 98-110
  14. Alesina, Alberto – Devleeschauwer, Arnaud – Easterly, William – Kurlat, Sergio – Wacziarg, Romain, “Fractionalization”, Journal of Economic Growth, 8, 2003, pp. 155-194
  15. Easterly, William – Levine, Ross, “Africa’s growth tragedy: policies and ethnic divisions”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 12(4), 1997, pp. 1203-1250
  16. Cederman, Lars-Erik – Wimmer, Andreas – Min, Brian “Why do ethnic groups rebel? New data and analysis”, World Politics, 62 (1), 2010, pp. 87-119
  17. Cederman, Lars-Erik – Skrede Gleditsch, Kristian – Wucherpfennig, Julian, “Predicting the decline of ethnic civil war: Was Gurr right and for the right reasons?”, Journal of Peace Research, 2017, 54(2), pp. 262–274
  18. Roessler, Philip, “The enemy within: Personal Rule, Coups, and Civil War in Africa”, World Politics, 63 (2), 2011, pp. 300-346
  19. Carboni, Andrea – Raleigh, Clionadh, “Regime cycle and political change in African autocracies”, Journal of Modern African Studies, 59 (4), 2021, pp. 415-437
  20. Svolik, Milan, “The anatomy of dictatorship”, in Svolik, Milan, The politics of authoritarian rule, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012, pp.1-18
  21. Bermeo, Nancy, “On democratic backsliding”, Journal of Democracy, 27 (1), 2016, pp. 5-19
  22. Maerz, Seraphine F. – Lührmann, Anna – Hellmeier, Sebastian – Grahn, Sandra – Lindberg, Staffan I., “State of the world 2019: autocratization surges, resistance grows”, Democratization, 27 (6), 2020, pp. 909–927
  23. Ross, Michael, “The paradoxical wealth of nations”, in Ross, Michael, The oil curse. How petroleum wealth shapes the development of nations, Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2012, pp.1-25]
  24. Posner, Daniel – Young, Daniel, “The institutionalization of political power in Africa”, Journal of Democracy, 18(3), 2007, pp.126-140
  25. Goldsmith, Arthur A., “Risk, rule and reason. Leadership in Africa”, Public Administration and Development, 21, 2001, pp. 77-87
  26. Jones, Benjamin – Olken, Benjamin, “Do leaders matter? National leadership and growth since World War II”, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 120 (3), 2005, pp. 835-864
  27. Long, James – Gibson, Clark, “Evaluating the roles of ethnicity and performance in African elections: evidence from an exit poll in Kenya”, Political Research Quarterly, 68 (4), 2015, pp. 830-842
  28. Weghorst, Keith – Lindberg, Staffan, “What drives the swing voter in Africa?”, American Journal of Political Science, 57 (3), 2013, pp. 717–734
  29. Hoffman, Barak D. – Long, James D., “Parties, ethnicity, and voting in African elections”, Comparative Politics, 2013, pp.127-146
  30. Harding, Robin, “Who is democracy good for? Elections, rural bias, and health and education outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa”, Journal of Politics, 82 (1), 2019, pp. 241-254