"A major contribution. Arriola draws not only from Africanist literatures, but also from scholarship on other regions. His account will be broadly read and influential. Learned, rigorous, and deeply thoughtful. Full marks!" - Robert H. Bates, Harvard University
"Under conditions in which the benefits of political office are presumed to accrue only to those who share the ethnicity of the officeholder, how can a multiethnic opposition coalesce to unseat an incumbent? Leonardo Arriola provides an original and compelling answer rooted not in politics, but business: financial deregulation and banking reform liberates private capital holders from government control, which frees them to contribute to the regime's opponents. Opposition leaders then use this money to buy, upfront, the endorsements of leaders from multiple ethnic groups. By demonstrating the connections between financial and political liberalization, and by solving the long-standing puzzle of explaining the existence of multiethnic coalitions, Arriola makes a valuable contribution to the study of African political economy." - Daniel N. Posner, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
"Arriola's book argues with impressive verve and great learning that African incumbents owe their political longevity to their ability to control domestic capital. In the process, he takes the reader through a comprehensive and compelling tour of post-colonial African political economy, shedding new light on a number of issues in novel ways, from the salience of ethnicity, to the relationship between independence parties and the private sector, and the success of opposition coalitions in the past decade. I believe this book represents an impressive achievement and will be considered one of the landmark works in African political economy." - Nicholas van de Walle, Cornell University
Many claim that Africa's long-ruling incumbents are able to hold onto power because opposition politicians divide the vote along ethnic lines. This book shows that ethnic divisions do not prevent opposition politicians from working together, but lack of money for endorsements from politicians who belong to other ethnic groups does. Financial reforms enable businesspeople to start providing money to the opposition without fear of punishment from the incumbent. This allows multi-ethnic opposition coalitions to form in African countries.