The Clientelism Trap in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, and its Impact on Aid Policy

Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Issue 3, Volume 5, pages 481-494

Crawford School Research Paper

14 Pages Posted: 17 Oct 2018

See all articles by Terence Wood

Terence Wood

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy

Date Written: April 25, 2018

Abstract

Clientelism is a central feature of politics in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea. Most voters vote in search of personalized or localized benefit, and most politicians focus on delivering benefits to their supporters at the expense of national governance. In this article, I explain how clientelism impedes development in both countries. I then describe underdevelopment's role in causing clientelism. I also explain the resulting trap: clientelism causes underdevelopment, and underdevelopment causes clientelism. Because of the trap, clientelism will shape the two countries' politics for the foreseeable future. However, the history of other countries gives cause to believe it can be overcome in the longā€run. In the second half of the paper, I explain how change may occur. I also outline implications for aid policy, looking at how clientelism constrains the impact aid can have, and explaining how donors can act to maximize their impact in a difficult environment.

Keywords: aid policy, clientelism, governance, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands

Suggested Citation

Wood, Terence, The Clientelism Trap in Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea, and its Impact on Aid Policy (April 25, 2018). Asia & the Pacific Policy Studies, Issue 3, Volume 5, pages 481-494; Crawford School Research Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3264470

Terence Wood (Contact Author)

Australian National University (ANU) - Crawford School of Public Policy ( email )

7 Liversidge Street
Lennox Crossing
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory ACT 0200
Australia

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