33 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 25, 2020
Democratic elections increasingly involve political intermediaries (e.g. grassroots organizations or political brokers). We develop a model of electoral competition in which candidates must decide between brokers (patronage) and grassroots organizations. Our model shows that patronage is more likely when public offices are relatively more “valuable” for brokers. Moreover, setups that constrain candidates from funding grassroots campaigns and weaken ties between politicians and citizens make patronage more likely. We show that patronage negatively affects citizens’ welfare, as winning brokers turned civil servants undermine the quality of governments. Finally, our model explores the role of policy deliberation in curbing patronage politics.
Keywords: Patronage, Brokers, Clientelism, Elections
JEL Classification: D70, D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation