Political Science, Department of


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A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Political Science, Under the Supervision of Professor Ross Miller and Professor Alice Kang. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2012

Copyright (c) 2012 Alex M. Kroeger


Many prevailing views contend that African politics are strongly influenced by vertical networks of dyadic patronage relationships that have a damaging effect on political systems, economies, and civil society. Since independence, the increasing size of many African cabinets would, following the literature, indicate a growth in political patronage networks. While these networks may increase the likelihood of leadership survival, it is expected, ceteris paribus, that growing patronage coalitions would diminish government revenue allocated toward the provision of public goods. This study goes beyond previous research by quantitatively examining the relationship between cabinet size and public goods provision that has been discussed only qualitatively thus far. A time-series cross-sectional analysis utilizing data from 34 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa from 1971-2007 suggests, contrary to previous studies, that increases in cabinet size are associated with improved allocation of public goods in healthcare, education, and infrastructure.

Advisors: Ross Miller and Alice Kang