Corruption, Reform, and Revolution in Africa's Third Wave of Protest
Lewis, Jacob Scott
McCauley, John F
MetadataShow full item record
What explains diverging calls for reform and revolution in Africa over the past ten years? African countries have made substantial strides toward actual democratic devel-opment, including a concerted effort to address corruption. As African democracies have strengthened, calls by citizens for anti-corruption reform have grown, highlighting the progress that is being made. Yet, in recent years, some anti-corruption movements have called instead for revolution - completely replacing the state or seceding altogether. What explains these calls for revolution? I argue that we need to understand how differ-ent types of corruption shape contentious goals. When corruption generates material benefits, citizens lose trust in politicians but do not lose trust in the system. In response, they call for reform, seeking to improve the system. When corruption generates system-ic benefits (distorting the system altogether), citizens lose trust in the institutions and instead call for revolution. I test this using individual-level data from survey experi-ments as well as large-n surveys, and group-level data using statistical analysis of pro-test events as well as case studies. I find strong support that types of corruption matter greatly in shaping contentious politics in Africa.