The Impact of AIDS on Local Government Performance: Evidence of the Third Wave of the AIDS Epidemic
Presenter(s): Robert Cameron (UCT), Per Strand (UCT) and Lauren Smith (UCT)
Abstract / Description:
Only ten years ago, alarming scenarios were predicted for nascent democratic states in Africa as a consequence of the third wave of the AIDS epidemic. The erosion of capacity caused by AIDS mortality, some argued, would trigger wars and reverse recent gains in democratic governance. However, whereas case studies have been able to detail the AIDS-related attrition among staff with responsibility to deliver essential services, and small-n comparisons have argued for an ‘AIDS pattern’ in the mortality of Members of Parliament, no study has so far been able to link the epidemic to data on governance outcomes. On the basis of more recent data from South Africa’s districts and municipalities, this paper argues that such an effect can now be specified. In addition to providing support for the argument, the statistical analysis provides a basis for making strategic choices about which districts would be optimal cases for more qualitative comparative analyses to understand the mechanisms that make local governance more or less vulnerable to the effects of AIDS.