In advanced industrial democracies, evidence suggests a positive relationship between inclusive public policy, collective behavior, and political participation. Yet Africa, which generally exhibits high levels of collective behavior, often has exclusionary policies and variable rates of political participation. Using Afrobarometer data and qualitative case analysis in Zambia, this paper argues that the links between collective behavior and political participation differ in African countries due to lower government capacity and weaker structures of accountability linking politicians to policy outcomes. Employing a policy feedback framework, it demonstrates that the policy context in which collective behavior emerges determines the extent to which it influences political participation. Specifically, low levels of service provision generate higher levels of collective behavior, indicating that communities organize in response to need. The extent to which this collective behavior results in political participation, however, depends in part on citizens’ political efficacy.
- African politics
- Collective behavior
- Policy feedback
- Political participation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations