Politics in Poor Places? Clientelism and Elections in Democracies

41 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2020

See all articles by Miriam A. Golden

Miriam A. Golden

European University Institute; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Eugenia Nazrullaeva

University of Glasgow

Stephane Wolton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government

Date Written: May 16, 2020

Abstract

We review a decade of literature on clientelism, a central topic in the study of developing democracies. We define clientelism as the discretionary distribution of public resources by politicians. We distinguish clientelism that occurs in the pre-electoral period (electoral clientelism) from that which occurs between elections (welfare clientelism). We provide new cross-national evidence questioning whether clientelism is actually effective in the sense of securing reelection for the politicians who engage in it. We offer ideas to understand why politicians continue to practice it nonetheless. Finally, we suggest that clientelism evolves with economic development, assuming new forms in highly developed democracies but not disappearing.

Keywords: clientelism, patronage, economic development, elections

JEL Classification: D72, H41, O10

Suggested Citation

Golden, Miriam A. and Nazrullaeva, Eugenia and Wolton, Stephane, Politics in Poor Places? Clientelism and Elections in Democracies (May 16, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3602680 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3602680

Miriam A. Golden

European University Institute ( email )

Via dei Roccettini 9
San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, 50014
Italy
50014 (Fax)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

Department of Political Science
Box 951472
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1361
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.golden.polisci.ucla.edu

Eugenia Nazrullaeva

University of Glasgow ( email )

School of Social & Political Sciences
Adam Smith Building, Bute Gardens
Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8RT
United Kingdom

Stephane Wolton (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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