Monitoring Political Brokers: Evidence from Clientelistic Networks in Mexico
Posted: 2 May 2013
Date Written: 2012
This paper studies how a political party uses electoral data to monitor and incentivize the political brokers who control its clientelistic networks. We study networks organized around rural communal lands in Mexico, which are largely controlled by the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). We use the fact that the level at which brokers operate (the communal land) does not necessarily coincide with the level at which the electoral data is disclosed (the electoral section). Guided by a simple model, we compute a measure of how informative the available electoral data is about the performance of the PRI's political brokers, as a function of the degree of overlap between communal lands and electoral sections. We compare the vote share for the PRI in communal lands where the electoral data is more or less informative, both when the PRI does and does not have access to resources to fund and incentivize brokers. The results suggest that clientelistic networks contribute significantly to the enforcement of clientelistic transactions.
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