SPIRe’s week four seminar will feature SPIRe’s Prof. Patrick Paul Walsh and Dr. Samuel Brazys presenting their paper co-authored with Peter Heaney of Irish Aid on “From the Great Lakes to the Great Rift Valley: Does Strategic Economic Policy Explain the 2009 Malawi Election?” from 13:00-14:00 Thursday, October 10th in G317 Newman Building, UCD Belfield. All are welcome.
Ethnic voting cleavages have featured in a number of sub-Saharan African states since third wave democratization following the end of the Cold War. While the causes and consequences of these cleavages are well studied, there have been surprisingly few attempts to understand if or how strategies of pan-ethnic coalition building based on distributiveeconomic policies could be employed to secure national electoral coalitions. In this paper we examine if in the 2009 Malawian parliamentary elections the newly-formed national party,the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), led by the President Bingu wa Mutharika used its incumbent position to promote an economy policy based on food security in order toovercome traditional ethnic voting patterns and win a nation-wide electoral majority. After presenting a formal model of using allocated economic policy to overcome ethnic bias andinduce vote-switching we use district-level data in a two-step approach to analyze if strategic allocation of national fertilizer subsidy problem contributed to the nation-wide electoral victory of the DPP.