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Education, Legislators and Legislatures in Africa

Mattes, Robert; Mozaffar, Shaheen

In this paper, we attempt to subject these broad propositions to more systematic test using a unique and original set of data from surveys of randomly chosen, representative samples national legislators in eleven countries carried out by the African Legislatures Project between 2008 and 2010: Ghana (2010), Kenya (2008-2009), Lesotho (2010), Malawi (2008), Mozambique (2008), Namibia (2009), Nigeria (2009), South Africa (2009), Tanzania (2009), Uganda (2009) and Zambia (2007). We ask three broad sets of questions of this data. The first is a simple descriptive question. What is the overall level of educational attainment (particularly higher education) amongst African MPs, and how does this vary across country? We then move on to two larger explanatory questions. Weinvestigate, briefly, what national level characteristics might account for these cross national variations? We then move on to examine, at greater depth, the actual political consequences of education amongst African legislators. Do more educated MPs possess different social and political characteristics than less educated ones? And are highly educated in MPs, in fact, more likely to adopt the types of attitudes and behaviours that might expand the role of representative assemblies in their national political systems, and thus contribute to process of democratization (Fish 2006)? Specifically, we ask whether highly educated MPs are more likely to bring with them more professional skills and government experience, adopt an “institutionalist” role orientation, devote greater proportions of their time to activities that build legislative institutions, show greater independence from party bosses, and support legislative reform measures?

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Document Title: Education, Legislators and Legislatures in Africa
City and Country: Cape Town

Document Type:Research Report (Not Peer Reviewed)
Subject Area:Contributory Studies and Research Approaches
Keywords:Educational Backgrounds, Elections, Educational Attainment, Educational Aspirations, Responsiveness, Representation, oversight,

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Date Added:22 March 2011

Education, Legislators and Legislatures in Africa