Redistribution, Voting and Clientelism: Evidence from the Italian Land Reform

88 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2021 Last revised: 23 Jul 2021

See all articles by Bruno Caprettini

Bruno Caprettini

University of Zurich

Lorenzo Casaburi

University of Zurich; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Miriam Venturini

University of Zurich - Department of Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: June 21, 2021

Abstract

Many democracies around the world feature pervasive clientelist practices. Inequality is often considered a key determinant of these practices. By reducing inequality, redistributive policies may therefore undermine clientelism. However, by inducing gratitude and reciprocity among beneficiaries, redistribution may also initiate clientelist exchange. We study the long-term effects of a major redistribution policy: the 1950 Italian land reform. Using a panel spatial regression discontinuity and data for half a century, we show that the large-scale redistribution led to the emergence of a long-lasting clientelist system characterized by political brokers, patronage and targeted benefits. Within this system, the Christian Democratic party, which promoted the reform, experienced persistent electoral benefits.

Keywords: redistribution, voting, clientelism, land reform, Italy

JEL Classification: P16, N44, Q15, D72

Suggested Citation

Caprettini, Bruno and Casaburi, Lorenzo and Venturini, Miriam, Redistribution, Voting and Clientelism: Evidence from the Italian Land Reform (June 21, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3767181 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3767181

Bruno Caprettini (Contact Author)

University of Zurich ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

Lorenzo Casaburi

University of Zurich ( email )

Rämistrasse 71
Zürich, CH-8006
Switzerland

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Miriam Venturini

University of Zurich - Department of Economics ( email )

Zürich
Switzerland

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