Surveying Ghana's MPs

Led by: Prof E. Gyimah-Boadi, Center for Democratic Development, Accra

Countries: Ghana, with earlier collaboration from the University of Florida

Theme: African parliamentarians face a variety of formal and informal institutional pressures to supply public, collective and private goods. Conventional wisdom says that in most countries of the region, informal pressures to provide private goods (rewards to individual supporters and clients) take precedence over both public and collective goods provision, with damaging effects on MPs' performance as legislators.

This research stream investigates the role of the MP in Ghana. As a quasi -national survey of citizens' expectations of their MPs, this research tries to establish - through detailed ethnographic observation of two MPs, two popular surveys of 12 constituencies, and interviews with 105 of the 230 MPs of Ghana's Parliament - the relationship between constituents' expectations and MPs' behavioural response to these formal and informal demands.

Research aim: This research aims to establish what, in Ghana's highly clientelistic political environment, motivates some legislators to provide high levels of public goods? And how do such parliamentarians manage to get re-elected in such a clientelistic environment? Data from the research will help to generate new thinking about how elected representatives can become better servants of their communities and thus improve the pace and quality of development.

The Africa Power and Politics Programme is a Research Programme Consortium funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and Irish Aid for the benefit of developing countries.
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