Descriptive Representation Paper
“Rwanda, with 61% of its lower house legislative seats held by women, has the highest level of descriptive representation in the world. Nigeria, with fewer than 4% of lower house legislative seats held by women, has one of the lowest levels. Does descriptive representation matter? If so, for what outcomes? Why?”
Descriptive describes who is in office; refers to the numbers and kinds of women elected in office; the similarities between the representatives and the represented o Quotas can diversify/broaden access to elected office away from political/elite families o Increase political engagement of women at citizen level o Descriptive Does Not Mean Substantive ▪ Claims that women elected on quotas are unqualified tokens.that they are unrepresentative elites ▪ Women may have gained significant access to parliaments, lack significant roles on parliamentary committees and access to leadership positions ▪ Women are excluded from male networks where legislative power is at ▪ Executive matters more, not parliament ▪ Legislative power is really checked by male dominated executive So the background is in 1984 in response to a rash of robberies and kidnappings and car jacking. Exactly the kind of lawlessness and decay that we were talking about that characterize many African countries during the last decades of the late seventies through the early nineties. And the kind of stuff that figured so prominently in the UW and OK palm piece that we read for a couple of classes ago. So in response to this, the Nigerian government established something they called the special anti robbery squad or sars. This was an elite group of police officers who were charged with trying to put a lid on what was seen as this rash of lawlessness in the country. Over time. Unfortunately, this sars squad came to operate with real impunity and wound up preying on precisely the citizens that they were initially set up to try to protect. And the Special Victims of sars. We’re often unfortunately young, middle-class Nigerian men who were making it in the burgeoning tech sector, who had cars, who had some money. And were, whether it was due to jealousy or because it was suspected that they must be up to no good may be involved in some of these online illegal shakedown schemes that were prevalent in Nigeria at the time. At any rate, they became especially targeted by the sars police. And so basically what happened over time is the sars group became a sort of lawless government sponsored shakedown machine. Sort of like the quintessentially powerful, corrupt cops. Okay. And very much hated across Nigeria. So between 20172020. Amnesty International found that sars was responsible for at least 82 cases of torture, ill treatment, or in some instances, even extra judicial killings, executions of suspects in their control. Ok. So the government promised again and again that it would do something to reform this out-ofcontrol police group, but they never really did. And all of this is background to an incident on October third when a video surfaced online seeming to show a sorrows officer or shooting a young man in southern Nigeria. Now, this wasn’t the first of these types of videos to surface these surface periodically over time. But against the backdrop of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the United States and against the backdrop of the broader pushback around the world against police brutality. It really galvanized opposition in Nigeria. And so the opposition was directed on the one hand, directly at police brutality, but also really encompassed and channeled a broader dissatisfaction with the corruption and the ineptitude of the current Nigerian government which had come to power, promising to take control of things, to rein in corruption, to improve people’s lives. And by all accounts really hasn’t. Things in many respects seem to have even gotten worse.Okay? The protests were on the one hand against police brutality. On the other hand, they were really just a more broad protest against, against the government. Okay. And the upshot of this is that no hashtag and sars has spanned the world on Twitter and on social media and has really become a rallying cry that I know many of you were on the chat saying, why isn’t professor mentioning this? This is such an important thing that’s happening. And yet here we are talking about politics, ignoring it, okay, so I’m, I’m saying a little bit about it today in response to what’s come through in the chat. Because I recognize that’s part of our job as professors is to be talking about relating things in our academic worlds to the real world that we all inhabit. Okay. So what was the government’s response? While the governor’s response was yet again, Buhari, The President said, yes, I’m going to disband sars. And he made a big announcement that he would. But more generally, the response was to try to quash the movement rather than to really listen and try to respond to its demands. Also, it’s not clear whether sars will actually be disbanded. This is a promise that’s been made again and again over the years. And oftentimes what happens is some of the particularly bad apples are just move to another unit and then shuffled back in. So most of the people in the protest movement in Nigeria are quite dubious that the government actually will disband the group as the President has promised. And so in any event, the protests have continued. The security forces have tried to put them down. And the most tragic events in this cat and mouse game between the protesters and the security forces took place last week when 12 people in Lagos were killed at a rally where the security forces opened fire and killed people in cold blood. Okay. So it’s a developing situation. I just wanted to give you that little bit of background in part to let you know that I’m listening, but But I also want to take a step back and ask, so what do we make of this? And just a couple of observations. First, I think this whole event really underscores the role of social media to turn a local Nigerian event into a world event. This is something that young people around the world are galvanized by and are talking about. And that’s a new thing. We wouldn’t have that kind of world recognition of this in the big scheme of things, local event, even if the, the currents that are underlying it are universal, What’s happened? It’s a Nigeria specific event and we wouldn’t know about it.We wouldn’t be mobilized about it, were it not for Twitter and Instagram and so forth. It also underscores that the problem of profiling and police heavy handedness isn’t just an American problem. This is a fundamental problem in police forces and citizens and their relations around the world. It also I think, underscores how badly politicians and political leaders respond to these kinds of events. Politicians are very afraid of protesters in the street. And while the best response maybe to meet with them, to talk to them, to hear their demands, to do what you can, to balance public security against the legitimate needs of citizens not to be beaten by police. Buhari, like Trump in this country, like presidents in many countries, responded with a heavy handed crack down. Rather than by coming and meeting with people and trying to find common ground. It’s just, this just happens again and again.And finally, I think it underscores the power of youth to protest, to exercise voice in the language of this course in a way that young people and citizens in Africa really historically have not at least as much as they have today. And so if there’s a hopeful aspect to this, I think this is it. The end sars movement shows that the kinds of things we’ve been talking aboutin the last few lectures, lectures, what Hirschman called loyalty. So quiescence, resignation. What is aria has on call suffer, manage, you just kinda suck it up and deal with it. Are no longer seen as acceptable responses to really poor government, at least by a large number of young people in Nigeria and I think in other countries. And so people, especially young people, are exercising voice to demand accountability and better governance in a way that they haven’t historically in many parts of Africa. And I think that is, if there’s a silver lining in it, I think that’s it. Okay. I would like nothing more than to open it up and have a broader discussion. I fear that if we were to do that, we would basically, that would take up the whole lecture. So maybe what we’ll try to do is later in the quarter, we can try to schedule some more open time to have broader discussions about these current events and others and how they relate to the course. A good time to do that is also in the office hours that are essentially the extension of the Thursday lecture. I’ll be here on Thursday after lecture for an hour. And if people want to talk about and sars in Nigeria or other current events topics, please. That’s a time. I’m happy to have that conversation then. I’m however mindful of the fact. We never quite finished the last lecture on agriculture. And we’ve got a lot of really important things to say today about gender in Africa. So, so I’m going to move into trying to clean up or finish up what we didn’t get to last Thursday and then move on to today’s topic of gender. Okay? So where we left off in the last lecture was with the question of why don’t-the peasants rebel, right? We talked about this whole system of policies. Whose upshot was that the poor rural producers were entirely getting the short end of the stick. That there was this urban bias where the rural sector with being taxed in order to feather than S of the urban sector. Because the urban sector was either embed with the governing coalition or was the governing coalition, or they were dangerous to them. Okay. So then why don’t the rural folks who are the majority, why don’t they rebel, right? So part of the reason why the peasants don’t rebel is because it’s really difficult to organize set of people who however numerous are spread out over thousands and thousands of miles of sparsely populated land area. Right there, spread out. There’s poor communications infrastructure, they’re poorly organized. You tend not to have, or in this period you tended not to have unions or national scale cooperative societies that could have helped spearhead and organize a concerted protests. And all of that is in strong contrast to the urban coalition, which instead of being spread out is concentrated, instead of being sparsely populated, as densely populated, instead of being disorganized, is much better organized through unions and cooperative societies and other sorts of work-based organizations. That makes it very easy to organize the urban sector and comparatively much harder organize the rural sector, right? But the main reason why the peasants don’t rebel, and this is one of the key insights that Bates brings us, is because governments choose agricultural policies not only hurt the rural sector, but also divide the rural sector. And this is where the nature of government interventions in the market for agricultural inputs comes in. Remember, I started off with that characterization of the African farmer standing at the intersection of these three different markets. And I talked about the markets for the goods that the farmer produces. I talked about the market for the goods that the farmer can’t produce that he has to buy from stores. But I didn’t talk about that third market, that middle one, which is the market for the agricultural inputs that he needs to buy. Okay, so let’s talk about that. So governments really wanted to help farmers. They could do it in two ways. They can simply pay them higher prices for the food or the crops that they grow.And we’ve seen that they don’t do that. The other thing that they could do is they could subsidize the inputs to agricultural production. They could subsidized fertilizer. They could subsidized credit to buy inputs. They could subsidize tractors or seed or land all the inputs to production. If the government subsidize those things, it would be cheaper and that would be hugely beneficial to the producers. The thing is governments do that. So hey, it looks like the government is doing things in ways that actually help farmers. But as Bates very shrewdly explains, governments do this in ways. That wind up undermining the power of the rural producers to rebel. And the way that Bates describes how they do this is that they doit through project-based rather than price-based policies. Okay? So price-based policies would be just pay, you’re producing coffee will pay more for your coffee when you sell up tothe national marketing board, you’re producing maze, we’ll pay you more for every bag of made. They don’t do that. They instead give them subsidies on projects. And as Bates explains, they do this for very, very political reasons, right? So here are the reasons if governments decided to help farmers by giving them just higher prices, every single farmer would benefit because a high price is a public good, can’t discriminate who gets the high price. Everybody gets it. Ok. You can’t exclude people. But input subsidies benefit only the peasants who receive the subsidies. Subsidies are a divisible good. It’s possible to decide who gets them and who doesn’t. And the reason why governments choose to spend their money on divisible goods rather than in divisible goods. Like a high price, is because it allows them to decide who gets the stuff. It allows them to channel resources to their supporters and to withhold it from their opponents. Okay? It allows them to selectively bestow benefits. That allows them to divide the peasantry. And this is a big part of the reason why the peasants don’t rise up. Governments deliberately enact policies that give them the power to buy off certain sectors and set them against the others. Alright? Now, marketing boards that we’ve discussed also play a role in this game of co-opting potential rivals, right? Because the money that’s tax from the rural producers by the marketing boards then just gets redistributed. And that redistribution can be channeled to favorite groups as it is when it’s used to feather the ness of urban producers or urban consumers. And it can also be used to divide the rural sector. You can pay off some rural areas for their quiescence, for their political support. And you can withhold those resources from the places that are opposing the regime. Right? Earlier or last week, I talked about currency overvaluation and how that can be used as a tool to promote industrialization. But one of the things that happens, and I think I mentioned this when you overvalue the exchange rate is you create a scarcity of foreign exchange, right? It’s simple economics. The price goes down, the quantity that people demand goes up, and the quantity that’s supplied at that price goes down and a scarcity emerges because the demand exceeds the supply. But the thing about foreign exchange is that the government controls the supply of foreign exchange. And with that control comes political power. And so it can dole out foreign exchange to its allies and withhold it from its enemies. Remember, one of the benefits of that overvalued exchange rate is because you can buy a Mercedes much more cheaply, right? Because that’s an imported luxury good and the overvalued exchange rate allows you to buy it. The thing is, you need euros or dollars or whatever the foreign currency is in which the person who’s selling you the Mercedes wants to be paid in in order to be able to pay it. So you need some connection to the government to get access to that artificially more valuable foreign exchange. Right? And so the fact that the government can control that creates an incentive for the government to intervene in the foreign exchange markets to create the scarcity so that it can then dole out foreign exchange-as a political good, as a favor to people who wants to keep within its political orbit. Okay? So interventions and markets can sometimes be expressly undertaken with the goal of creating an artificial scarcity, which can then be manipulated and capitalized on by the government officials who control the distribution of this scarce and therefore valuable good. It’s only scarce and valuable because of their market intervention that made it scarce and valuable. But they knew that they would be able to control the small amount of it that was available. And so they had incentives to intervene to create the scarcity, to give themselves the power that came with the control of that good. Okay. Another thing that governments can do to control the rural sector is they can try to regulate, right? Governments regulate all the time. They create lysing licensing requirements, they create permit requirements, right?And by doing this, people are put in a position of indebtedness to the government, right? Because the government can uniquely provide you with the permit, with the license to do whatever it is you need to do for your livelihood, right? And so that gives the government power. We tend to think about. Now I sound like a republican here, but we tend to think ofregulations as being to protect public safety. And they almost always are. But they also serve as a requirement that enhances the power of the government. Because the government puts us in a, puts itself by creating a regulation in the position of being a gatekeeper whose acquiescence or whose permission or whose license, whose certification is then required for you to undertake what you wanna do. And if you’ve got lots of licenses and requirements that you need to to meet in order to legally do something. That’s a source of stress, right?Oftentimes we think of this as just being that’s the trade off for protecting the environment or protecting workers or what have you. And that’s just, it’s a balancing act and we just have to accept it because there’s a good that comes from it. Part of Bates is insight. And I think this is the way that some Republicans see regulation is that it’s not about public safety, it’s not about worker protections. It’s about enhancing the power of government officials who can then hold people hostage in return for granting them the license or the registration ticket or whatever it is the law now requires. Okay. So when Bates doing his fieldwork in Ghana, asked a wealthy Ghanaian cocoa farmer, Why didn’t you organize support among fellow farmers for high prices? Why, why didn’t you mobilize? You guys are getting screwed. Bates writes, that the farmer went to a strong box and produced a packet of documents, licenses for his vehicles, import permits for spare parts, titles to his real property. The articles of incorporation that exempted him from a major portion of his income taxes. And the farmer told him, if I tried to organize resistance to the government’s policy on farm prices. He said, while holding up these documents, I’d be called an enemy of the state and I would lose all these documents that I need to be able to do my business. Right? So regulation is another kind of Intervention by the government that gives the government power because it makes people beholden to the government to get the permissions that are required by the regulations. Okay? Okay. Okay. So that’s partly why the peasants don’t rebel. They’ve got lots of reasons to be upset, but it’s hard for them to mobilize their politically weak. And the government intervenes and all sorts of ways to hold them hostage and to divide them, to divide them from each other, and to use the power that they have by virtue of their interventions to effectively cow them into quiescence. So that’s part of the reason and that’s part of the answer to this puzzle of why this large, very big coalition in terms of numbers, is so politically weak. Okay? Okay, so let me just talk about what some of the consequences are of these anti agrarian policies that Bates tells us are politically rational, even if they’re economically irrational from the standpoint of agriculture production. So one key ramification is that rulers as a consequence of these policies become more secure in power, right? That’s …
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