How Members of Parliament in Africa Represent their Constituencies - HOME

HOME proposes to analyze four questions in the context of a Small-N comparative study: How do MPs behave in their home constituency?; How do MPs use the parliamentary floor to cater to districts’ interests?; How are recruitment and post-assignment in parliament used to connect with constituencies? And which factors shape MPs’ constituency focus?. 

In surveying these questions, the main goals are to: propose and test an integrated framework to analyze MPs’ constituency focus linking the different arenas in which they interact; map and explain variation in constituency service; advance scholarship on constituency service and generate evidence that can inform democratic resilience in Africa.

The empirical analysis unfolds in the context of Ghana and South Africa, two of the most established democracies in Africa with remarkable records of free and fair elections and highly institutionalized party systems. However, they have important institutional and contextual differences that make the empirical analysis of constituency service relevant. 

The project applies an ambitious mixed methods research strategy that combines different types of quantitative (surveys, MPs’ biographies, parliamentary activity) and qualitative (documental research, interviews) data to answer the research questions and test hypotheses. 

(Funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through the Project PTDC/CPO/4796/2020)


2018 – 2020

Mapping political cleavages and constituency links in Africa: the influence of economic shocks and institutions

The project’s main goals are to examine which strategies parties/politicians use to build constituency links and to explain why their strategies vary across space and time, and key institutional and economic factors. The empirical analysis focuses on three diverse countries—Kenya, South Africa, and Zambia —for the period between 2000 and 2018, and is implemented trough a mixed methods research design including parliamentary data and semi-structured interviews.  (Funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology through the Project CEECIND/02527/2017)



Quality of Democracy Index

The Quality of Democracy Index (QDI), is a project developed the Observatory of the Quality of Democracy of the Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon. It was created in 2017 having as main purpose measuring the quality of democracy in the Portuguese speaking countries. It consists of an online survey where country experts, from different disciplinary fields, are asked to assess five “ideal” components of democracy – Rights and Rule of Law, Political Representation, Accountability, Civil Society and Participation and International Dimension – over 59 questions. The QDI has so far been implemented in Portugal, Cabo Verde and Angola. All findings are available online.