Clientelism is the exchange of goods and services for political support, often involving an implicit or explicit quid-pro-quo.Clientelism involves an asymmetric relationship between groups of political actors described as patrons, brokers, and clients.
Although many definitions for clientelism have been proposed, according to the political scientist Allen Hicken, it is generally thought that there are four key elements of clientelistic relationships:
Contingency and iteration are the two components shared across most definitions of clientelism.
The origin of the practice has been traced to ancient Rome. Here relationships between the patron (patronus) and client (cliens) were seen as crucial to understanding the political process. While the obligations between these were mutual, the key point is they were hierarchical. These relationships might be best viewed not as an entity but rather as a network (clientela), with the patronus himself perhaps being obligated to someone of greater power, and the cliens perhaps having more than one patron. These extensions increase the possibilities of conflicting interests arising. While the familia was the basic unit underlying Roman society, the interlocking networks (clientela) acted as restrictions on their autonomy but allowed a more complex society to develop. Historians of the late medieval period evolved the concept into bastard feudalism. There is, as is usual, ambiguity in the use of political terminology and the terms "clientelism", the "patron–client relationship", "patronage" and the political machine are sometimes used to describe similar or related concepts.
The reigns of Julius Caesar (49–44 BCE) and Tiberius (14–16 AD) have been characterized as examples of widespread clientelism. In the 1500s, French political theorist Étienne de La Boétie did not use the term clientelism, but described the practice of emperors who used gifts to the public to gain loyalty from those who were eager to accept what amounted to bribery:
Susan Stokes et al. distinguish clientelism as a form of non-programmatic policy within distributive politics. It meets the criteria through failing to meet the two requirements of programmatic distribution, that are (1) 'formalized and public' and (2) 'shape actual distribution of benefits or resources'.Within non-programmatic policy, clientelism is then distinguished from 'pork-barrel politics' in that voters are given a benefit or are able to avoid a cost conditional on their returning the favor with a vote. The patron/client system can be defined as a mutual arrangement between a person that has authority, social status, wealth, or some other personal resource (patron) and another who benefits from their support or influence (client). The patron provides selective access to goods and opportunities, and place themselves or their support in positions from which they can divert resources and services in their favor. Their partners-clients- are expected to buy support, and in some cases, votes. Patrons target low-income families to exchange their needed resources for their abundant resources: time, a vote, and insertion into networks of other potential supporters whom they can influence. However, patrons are unable to access the information needed to effectively form the exchange; thus they hire intermediaries, brokers, that more equipped to find out what the targeted voter needs, which voters will require less prodding, and if the voter followed through on their end of the bargain. As Stokes, Dunning, Nazareno, and Brusco emphasize, brokers in turn serve political leaders, and they may also not target resources exactly as leaders would wish; the resulting principal-agent problems can have important implications for understanding how clientelism works.
Standard modeling of clientelism assumes that politicians are able to monitor votes, and in turn, reward or punish voters based on their choices. Quid pro quo would dissolve in the absence of such monitoring, rendering clientielism highly inefficient at best and completely ineffective at worst. However, evidence suggests that systematic monitoring of voter choice at the polls is surprisingly uncommon.
Patronage, turnout buying, abstention buying, and vote buying are subcategories of clientelism.Patronage refers to an intra-party flow of benefits to members. Turnout buying, coined by Nichter, treats or bribes voters to the polls whereas abstention buying treats or bribes voters to keep them from going to the polls. Vote buying is a direct transfer of goods or services, in exchange for one's support and vote. The result for the good or service is a question of did you or will you vote for me? A key to understanding clientelism might come in stressing not only the mutually beneficial relationships of exchange but also asymmetries in power or standing. Implied is a certain selectivity in access to key resources and markets. Those with access, the patrons (and/or sometimes sub-patrons or brokers) rely on the subordination and dependence of the clients. In return for receiving some benefits the clients should provide political support.
Politicians can engage in clientelism on either (or both) a group or individual level. One way individual level clientelism can manifest itself is in a vote buying relationship: a politician gives a citizen goods or services, and, in exchange, that individual citizen promises to vote for that politician in the next election.Individual level clientelism can also be carried out through coercion where citizens are threatened with lack of goods or services unless they vote for a certain politician or party. The relationship can also work in the opposite direction, where voters pressure politicians into clientelistic relationships in exchange for electoral support.
Stokes' research on clientelism in Argentina assumed that the Peronist party was providing financial support to prospective voters to buy their votes. It was hypothesized that Peronists targeted moderately opposed voters because they were thought to be easily persuaded to change sides at the party's minimal expense.Stokes elaborated on the need of the Argentinian Peronist party to be able to track who their clientele in fact voted for amidst the secret ballot system. Stokes' argument is that the potential for vote buying depends on the accuracy with which the patron party, the Peronists in the case of Argentina, are able to monitor votes. She uses evidence to show that overall smaller communities offer less anonymity, making it easier for the patrons to find out who committed to supporting them. Thus, Stokes concludes that this is one of the reasons why vote buying is more frequent in relatively small communities. Another reason is that smaller communities are generally poorer. Furthermore, smaller communities, which are generally poorer and have a greater need for resources, are a more attractive target.
Research by Nichter promoted a simpler hypothesis for the Argentinian election cycle: to prove Peronists were solely buying supporting voters' turnout, not all the people's votes.He dismissed Stokes' arguments on patrons spying on smaller and poorer communities, instead saying the Peronists initially targeted votes assumed to be their strong supporters. In this case the patrons would be reasonably sure they receive a vote from a person if this person receives a good from them.
In many young low-income democracies, clientelism may assume the form of group-level targeting, where parties channel benefits to specific groups of voters, conditional on past or future electoral support.For group-based targeting to work, parties must find efficient ways to distribute benefits while also holding voters accountable—i.e., ensuring that they don't renege on their commitments. This leads parties to hire intermediaries, often referred to as 'brokers', who supply them with fine-grained information about who needs what and what sorts of voters will and will not vote for them, regardless of the benefit(s) provided. Party brokers are not the only type of intermediaries that mediate clientelist exchanges; there are organizational brokers who represent specific interest groups but mobilize voters for multiple parties, hybrid brokers who also represent specific interest groups but demonstrate strong party loyalties, and independent brokers who neither represent specific group interests nor exhibit stable partisan attachments.
Scholarly consensus has thus far eluded the question of why parties channel clientelist benefits to certain groups more than others. Some of the earlier work on group-level targeting argues that politicians are more likely to direct party largesse to their co-ethnics because ethnicity helps parties solve the commitment problems that are so critical to making clientelism work.Some of the more contemporary work underscores the salience of partisan loyalties: politicians direct the bulk of their vote-buying efforts at persuadable swing voters—i.e., voters who are either indifferent to the party's professed programmatic goals, or moderately opposed to them. Some studies have challenged these claims, suggesting instead that most instances of vote-buying in clientelist democracies might actually be instances of turnout-buying, whereby parties shower benefits on their most loyal supporters with the hope they will show up at the polling booth on election day. However, the lack of well-developed political machines does not preclude clientelist targeting. Recent studies have shown that in many emerging democracies where parties often lack the organizational capacity to monitor individual-level voting behavior, parties fine-tune their targeting strategies by updating their beliefs about what sorts of groups have been most responsive to their clientelist appeals in the past.
Clientelism may not look the same from context to context.Several individual and country-level factors may shape if and how clientelism takes hold in a country including the types of individual leaders, socioeconomic status of individuals, economic development, democratization, and institutional factors. In some contexts, clientelistic behavior is almost expected, as these types of interactions can become embedded in the formal political structures. Some types of leaders (such as hereditary traditional leaders who remain in power for extended periods of time) are more effective in carrying out clientelistic relationships than others (such as elected officials). Research has also shown that although politicians can benefit electorally from clientelistic relationships by gaining support from those who receive goods from them, there are also potential costs as clientelistic politicians may lose support from wealthier voters who do not engage in clientelistic relationships themselves view the practice negatively. Not all voters view clientelistic behavior as a positive trait in politicians, especially voters of higher socioeconomic statuses. In short, there is no one factor that causes clientelism to take hold.
Clientelism has generally negative consequences on democracy and government while also having more uncertain consequences on the economy.
The accountability relationship in a democracy, where voters hold elected officials accountable for their actions, is undermined by clientelism. This is because under clientelism, votes are contingent on gifts to clients rather than the performance of elected officials in office. Clientelism also degrades democratic institutions such as the secret ballot and administrative oversight. These factors both weaken democratic institutions and negatively impact the efficiency of government.
Corruption and the perception of corruption have also been established as strongly correlated with clientelist systems. There are many reasons for this. For one, patrons often appear above the law in many clientelist systems. What is more, some acts in clientelist systems such as vote buying, could be inherently illegal. Finally, resources needed for patrons to maintain the clientelist system could necessitate illicit means of obtaining goods.A 2021 study found that voters in clientelist systems are less willing to punish corrupt politicians electorally.
Some scholars believe that because patrons focus on the control and procurement of private goods, they also neglect public goods such as roads and public schools which aid economic development.Scholars also note that rent seeking and corruption, prevalent in clientelist systems, could negatively impact the economy as well. Nevertheless, there is still great uncertainty in the economic effects of clientelism.
It is common to link clientelism with corruption; both involve political actors using public and private resources for personal gain, but they are not synonymous. Corruption is commonly defined as "dishonest and fraudulent conduct by those in power, typically involving bribery",while political clientelism is seen as "the distribution of benefits targeted to individuals or groups in exchange for electoral support". It is common to associate the two together because they moderately overlap. There are different forms of corruptions that have nothing to do with clientelism, such as voter intimidation or ballot stuffing. "Clientelism is considered negative because its intention is to generate 'private' revenue for patrons and clients and, as a result obstruct 'public' revenue for members of the general community who are not a part of the patron-client arrangement."
Clientelism as a strategy of political organisation is substantially different from other strategies which rely on appeals to wider programmatic objectives or simply emphasize higher degrees of competence. It is often assumed that clientelism is a vestige of political underdevelopment, a form of corruption, and that political modernization will reduce or end it. But alternative views stressing the persistence of clientelism – and the patronage associated with it – have been recognized.
Logrolling is the trading of favors, or quid pro quo, such as vote trading by legislative members to obtain passage of actions of interest to each legislative member. In organizational analysis, it refers to a practice in which different organizations promote each other's agendas, each in the expectation that the other will reciprocate. In an academic context, the Nuttall Encyclopedia describes logrolling as "mutual praise by authors of each other's work".
A political party is an organization that coordinates candidates to compete in a country's elections. It is common for the members of a political party to have similar ideas about politics, and parties may promote specific ideological or policy goals.
An ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more contending ethnic groups. While the source of the conflict may be political, social, economic or religious, the individuals in conflict must expressly fight for their ethnic group's position within society. This final criterion differentiates ethnic conflict from other forms of struggle.
Accountability, in terms of ethics and governance, is equated with answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. As in an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in the public sector, nonprofit and private (corporate) and individual contexts. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences.
Electoral fraud, sometimes referred to as election fraud, election manipulation, voter fraud or vote rigging, involves illegal interference with the process of an election, either by increasing the vote share of a favored candidate, depressing the vote share of rival candidates, or both. It differs from but often goes hand-in-hand with voter suppression. What exactly constitutes electoral fraud varies from country to country.
In the politics of representative democracies, a political machine is a political group in which an authoritative leader or small group command the support of a corps of supporters and businesses, who receive patronage as reward for their efforts. The machine's power is based on the ability of the boss or group to get out the vote for their candidates on election day.
Political representation is the activity of making citizens "present" in public policy making processes when political actors act in the best interest of citizens. This definition of political representation is consistent with a wide variety of views on what representing implies and what the duties of representatives are. For example, representing may imply acting on the expressed wishes of citizens, but it may alternatively imply acting according to what the representatives themselves judge is in the best interests of citizens. And representatives may be viewed as individuals who have been authorized to act on the behalf of others, or may alternatively be viewed as those who will be held to account by those they are representing. Political representation can happen along different units such as social groups and area, and there are different types of representation such as substantive representation and descriptive representation.
Koenkai are an invaluable tool of Japanese Diet members, especially of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). These groups serve as pipelines through which funds and other support are conveyed to legislators and through which the legislators can distribute favors to constituents in return. To avoid the stringent legal restrictions on political activity outside of designated campaign times, koenkai sponsor year-round cultural, social, and "educational" activities. For example, Tanaka Kakuei used his "iron constituency", or invincible constituency, in rural Niigata Prefecture to build a formidable, nationwide political machine. But other politicians, like Ito Masayoshi, were so popular in their districts that they could refrain, to some extent, from money politics and promote a "clean" image. Koenkai remained particularly important in the over-represented rural areas, where paternalistic, old-style politics flourished and where the LDP had its strongest support.
Neopatrimonialism is a system of social hierarchy where patrons use state resources to secure the loyalty of clients in the general population. It is an informal patron–client relationship that can reach from very high up in state structures down to individuals in small villages.
Votebank, in the political discourse of India, is a term referring to a loyal bloc of voters from a single community, who consistently back a certain candidate or political formation in democratic elections. Such behavior is often the result of an expectation of benefits, whether real or imagined, from the political formations, often at the cost of other communities. Votebank politics is the practice of creating and maintaining votebanks through divisive policies. As it encourages voting on the basis of self-interest of certain groups, often against their better judgement, it is considered harmful to the principles of representative democracy.
General elections were held in Japan on July 18, 1993 to elect the House of Representatives. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), in power since 1955, lost their majority in parliament. An eight-party coalition government was formed and headed by Morihiro Hosokawa, the leader of the Japan New Party (JNP). The election result was profoundly important to Japan's domestic and foreign affairs. It marked the first time since 1955 that the ruling coalition had been defeated, being replaced by a coalition of liberals, centrists and reformists. The change in government also marked a change in generational politics and political conduct; the election was widely seen as a backlash against corruption, pork-barrel spending and a inflated bureaucracy. Proposed electoral reforms also held much influence over the election. Eleven months after the election, the ruling coalition collapsed as multiple parties left the coalition.
Herbert P. Kitschelt is a political science scholar and George V. Allen Professor of International Relations at Duke University, North Carolina. Kitschelt's key intellectual contribution is arguably his redefinition of the competitive space for political parties in Western Europe. Kitschelt claims that the traditional patterns along which parties competed had progressively shifted to a new pattern of political division: left-libertarian versus right-authoritarian as a result of social changes in advanced capitalist societies. He was also one of the first scholars to systematically study the rise of Green parties in Europe, which he understood as a form of 'left-libertarian' politics.
Castes in Indian society refer to a social group where membership is decided by birth. Members of such local groups are endogamous, i.e. they tend to enter into marital relationships among themselves. They often have related political preferences.
In political science, a power broker is a person who influences people to vote towards a particular client in exchange for political and financial benefits. Power brokers can also negotiate deals with other power brokers to meet their aims. The term is sometimes used for a non-elected person with political influence.
Low information voters, also known as misinformation voters, are people who may vote yet are generally poorly informed about issues. The phrase is mainly used in the United States and has become popular since the mid-1990s.
A valence issue is an issue where there is a broad amount of consensus among voters. As valence issues are representative of a goal or quality, voters use valence issues to evaluate a political party’s effectiveness in producing this particular goal or quality.
Corruption in Mexico has permeated several segments of society – political, economic, and social – and has greatly affected the country's legitimacy, transparency, accountability, and effectiveness. Many of these dimensions have evolved as a product of Mexico's legacy of elite, oligarchic consolidation of power and authoritarian rule.
General elections were held in Vanuatu on 22 January 2016. The previous elections occurred in October 2012. The president of Vanuatu, Baldwin Lonsdale, dissolved the Parliament of Vanuatu in November 2015. This occurred after the conviction of 14 parliamentarians for bribery. The convicted MPs include former Prime Ministers Serge Vohor and Moana Carcasses Kalosil. The president called for a snap election to form a new government.
Zero Hunger: Political Culture and Antipoverty Policy in Northeast Brazil is a book by anthropologist Aaron Ansell published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2014. The book traces the interactions between an activist state and a historically impoverished segment of the nation, offering an alternative to clientelism and universalism through the introduction of "intimate hierarchies," which note the unofficial relationship and exchanges between politicians and their constituencies that maintain aspects of agricultural life in Northeast Brazil. The book won the 2015 Brazil Section Book Award from the Latin American Studies Association.
Susan Carol Stokes is an American political scientist and the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in the Political Science department of the University of Chicago, and the faculty director of the Chicago Center on Democracy. Her academic focus is on Latin American politics, comparative politics, and how democracies function in developing countries. Stokes is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
|journal=(help); Check date values in: