Risk, rule and reason in Africa

Risk, rule and reason in Africa

Author: 
Goldsmith, Arthur A.
Place: 
Washington, D.C.
Publisher: 
Equity and growth through eocnomic research (EAGER) and USAID
Phys descriptions: 
15p., tables
Date published: 
2000
Record type: 
Region: 
Call No: 
330.101(6) GOL
Abstract: 

In general, Sub-Saharan Africa has produced a notable absence of leadership. Authoritarian political traditions, lack of national identity, underdeveloped middle classes, and widespread economic distress are among the sweeping, impersonal forces cited as factors that produce poor leader after poor leader in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper instead takes a micro-level view of leadership. Without denying that macro-level social and economic factors bear on leaders "behavior, Goldsmith looks at these people as individuals and speculates about the incentives created by their environment. In the tradition of political economy, Goldsmith begins with the assumption that African leaders are usually trying to do what they think is best for themselves. He contends that they choose actions that appear to produce the greatest benefit at least cost, after making allowances for the degree of risk involved. Such a leader also is capable of learning, and takes cues from what is happening to other leaders in neighbouring countries. He can improve his behavior if he has to. This paper speculates how leaders might react to perceived levels of risk in their political environment, looks at the actual level of risk and then assesses how risk seems to have changed the way African leaders act in office. Finally it looks at ways that democratization processes may be improving political incentives.

Language: 
Series: 
African economic policy : Discussion paper

CITATION: Goldsmith, Arthur A.. Risk, rule and reason in Africa . Washington, D.C. : Equity and growth through eocnomic research (EAGER) and USAID , 2000. - Available at: http://library.au.int/risk-rule-and-reason-africa-5