clear

clear! Governing well without elections

Esther Blanco explains the results of her research project, which were recently published in the journal "Science Advances".
With the study "Procedural fairness and nepotism among local traditional and democratic leaders in rural Namibia", Esther Blanco from the Department of Public Finance at the University of Innsbruck and Björn Vollan from the University of Marburg showed that in Namibia, traditional leaders rule just as well as elected officials. Traditional representatives are less inclined to nepotism and better implement fair and democratic decision-making procedures than elected officials.
 
This is due to the primary goal of conflict resolution and promotion of social cohesion, which traditional leaders perceive as their main task. The minimal differences are also due to the similar social preferences and personality traits of the two leadership groups. Democratic elections, accountability to the villagers and corruption are surprisingly common to both groups. Not only the population in Namibia, but also those in all of Africa prefer traditional authorities. Democratic standards are not sufficiently implemented in southern Africa by elected leaders at the local level, such as guaranteeing the secrecy of elections. Due to legitimate and accountable actions on the part of the traditional ??? democratic standards are even exceeded. This leads to great popularity of the traditional authorities among village members.
 
The study was financially supported by the University of Innsbruck, the Austrian Science Fund FWF and the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.
 
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