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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Political Science

First Advisor

Peter M. Haas

Second Advisor

M. J. Peterson

Third Advisor

Carlene J. Edie

Subject Categories

African Studies | International Relations | Political Science


This dissertation examines the factors that account for the variation in policy choices and implementation among sub-Saharan African countries that pursued neoliberal economic reforms since the 1980s. It shows that governments' response varied both across time and policy areas. Using process tracing and cross-case analysis, this dissertation examines the influence of both international and domestic level factors regarding neoliberal policy choices and implementation in Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe, and Botswana. While the strength of the various explanations varies across cases, the empirical evidence shows that crisis, interest groups, and epistemic community are more powerful in explaining governments' policy choices. Domestic institutions and epistemic community offer the strongest support for policy implementation. Since the epistemic community variable is strong in explaining both policy choice and implementation, these findings are more supportive of the Constructivist explanation for policy reforms. The evidence shows that neoliberal economic reforms in Ghana have been successful while those in Kenya and Zimbabwe have been less successful. Botswana, however, does not fit the crisis-driven conceptual model adopted in this dissertation and therefore requires further examination.