Social Assistance, Electoral Competition, and Political Branding in Malawi
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The proliferation of social assistance programmes across Africa has coincided with redemocratization, i.e. the return of multi-party systems with regular, competitive elections in place of one-party states and military regimes. Elections replaced coups as the primary mechanism for leadership change. Studiesof other areas of public policy, including health and education, suggest that democracy sometimes prompts public policy reforms (e.g. Harding and Stasavage 2013; Carbone and Pellegata 2017) and has almost always prevented death through famine (Devereux and Tiba 2007). To date, however, there has been little analysis of whether and how democratization matters for social assistance in Africa, or of whether and how social assistance informs electoral and partisan politics.