Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

First Advisor

Charles Hankla

Second Advisor

Carrie Manning

Third Advisor

Daniel Young


Slow agrarian development has often been blamed on the absence of civil society mobilization. This paper quantitatively analyzes the effect of political and fiscal decentralization on agricultural development in 30 democratizing African States. Hence two hypotheses are tested: H1) New democracies that combine elected sub-national governments with fiscal decentralization will be more likely to spend more in agriculture. H2) In such system we should observe better agricultural outputs, other things equal. Results reveal that counter-intuitively simultaneous democratic and fiscal decentralization have a negative impact on public investment in agriculture. On the other hand, as expected fiscal decentralization does not have any significant impact in the absence of democratic decentralization. Most importantly democratic decentralization is found to have a highly positive impact on the provision of agricultural related public goods when fiscal decentralization is low. The test also reveals that fiscal and political decentralization positively influence agricultural production.