Clientelism and the Classification of Dominant Party Systems

Democratization, 2015, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp. 113-133

39 Pages Posted: 11 Feb 2017

See all articles by Aris Trantidis

Aris Trantidis

University of Lincoln (UK) - School of Social Sciences

Date Written: November 14, 2013

Abstract

The view of clientelism as an abuse of state power casts doubt on the democratic credentials of highly clientelistic political systems. The question is particularly relevant for the classification of dominant party systems that heavily rely on clientelism to elicit popular support and retain a relatively open structure of participation. Knowing that clientelism is a widespread practice in modern democracies too, how do we evaluate the impact of clientelism on political competitiveness in order to sort out the position of these regimes along the lines of democracy and authoritarianism? This task requires identifying the conditions under which clientelism becomes an essentially authoritarian practice and qualifies these regimes as such. The article puts forward two propositions about the circumstances under which clientelism infringes basic democratic standards under a thin and a thick definition of democracy. Clientelism under one-party monopoly engenders authoritarianism when it thwarts and punishes the contesting voice of citizens by effectively blocking exit from its incentives and sanctions.

Keywords: clientelism, dominant party systems, authoritarianism, patronage, democracy, semi-authoritarianism, hegemonic regimes, party politics, political competition

Suggested Citation

Trantidis, Aris, Clientelism and the Classification of Dominant Party Systems (November 14, 2013). Democratization, 2015, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp. 113-133, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2715829

Aris Trantidis (Contact Author)

University of Lincoln (UK) - School of Social Sciences ( email )

Lincoln
United Kingdom

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