The Association between Social Capital and Voting Participation in Three Developing Democracies in Africa

  •  Jack Bwalya    
  •  Prasanth Sukumar    


Numerous empirical research studies posit that social capital has a positive influence on peoples’ political participation. Studies conducted in developed western democracies have revealed that social capital strengthens democratic institutions by impacting both the quantity and quality of citizens’ political participation. However, in the developing democracies of Africa, the effects of social capital on political participation remain under-researched. This paper aims to empirically examine whether the interrelation between social capital and political participation holds true in the developing democracies of Africa. By operationalising the concept of social capital as membership in civic associations, this paper examines the influence of social capital on peoples’ voting participation in three Southern African countries, viz. Botswana, Namibia and Zambia. Using data from the sixth round of the Afrobarometer Survey, this study found that social capital was strongly linked to voting participation in these countries.

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