Buying Voters with Dirty Money: The Relationship between Clientelism and Corruption

25 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 4 Sep 2009

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

Abstract: Clientelism and corruption are often linked by conceptual similarities and by common causes. However, there have been few cross-national studies of how these forms of political behaviors are linked. Using data from a unique dataset on the perceived frequency of clientelist mobilization in 70 democracies, I demonstrate that both political experts and ordinary citizens perceive clientelist countries to have difficulties in controlling corruption. Clientelism is also associated with the level of corruption experienced by businesses in their interactions with government officials who set policy, distribute contracts, and raise funds for campaigns. However, it is not associated with the level of corruption firms have with non-political actors like utilities employees nor with the frequency government officials and policemen target citizens for bribes. The association of clientelism with grand corruption and not petty bribery suggests that not only may some forms of clientelism be corrupt in themselves, clientelism may generate incentives for other corrupt behaviors by influencing the need for funds to maintain clientelist machines.

Keywords: Clientelism, corruption, campaign finance

Suggested Citation

Singer, Matthew, Buying Voters with Dirty Money: The Relationship between Clientelism and Corruption (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1449001

Matthew Singer (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut ( email )

Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

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