Gender difference in support for Democracy in Sub-Saharan Africa: Do social institutions matter?

M. Konte*, S. Klasen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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ABSTRACT: Several recent papers have noted gender differences in support for democracy in Africa, but the causes of this difference remain unclear. This article investigates whether the observed gender gap is due to the related gender inequality in social institutions, which affects women's daily life and deprives them of social and economic empowerment inside and outside the home. Using Afrobarometer survey data (rounds 2 [2002–3], 3 [2004–5], and 4 [2008–9]), the study finds that the gender difference in support for democracy is no longer significant once gender discrimination is controlled for in the family code, physical integrity, or civil liberties components of the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI). Interaction terms show that women's support for democracy is only lower in places where gender inequality in these social institutions is particularly large. This study thus provides evidence that women who live in countries with favorable institutions toward women are more supportive of democracy than women who do not. © 2015 IAFFE.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-86
Number of pages32
JournalFeminist Economics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2016

JEL classifications

  • j16 - "Economics of Gender; Non-labor Discrimination"


  • gender difference
  • social institutions
  • Support for democracy
  • O120
  • O38
  • J16


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