Herbert Kitschelt and David Wilkinson, (eds.) Patrons, Clients and Policies (2007), Chapters 1, 7.

‘Main Argument:

The primary aim of this book is to describe and explain the incidence of clientelistic politics. Secondarily, it also explores the effects of such politics and thereby raises the normative question of what we should think of the use of clientelistic practices. As the editors argue, the need for serious study of clientelistic politics is great: whereas theorizing about politics has tended to assume a programmatic model in which parties compete for citizens’ votes by offering alternative policy platforms, in fact clientelistic relations are often more influential; and the existence of clientelism has important implications, not least for how international financial institutions should deal with a given country.


Method: a political economy/rational choice framework.


Key Definitions


Clientelism:  A direct exchange between politician and citizen in which the politician gives the voter (or group of voters) specific benefits contingent upon the voter‚Äôs support [9]. It is contingent direct exchange, economic development factors are coded as supply- and demand-sided, and clientelism is strongly interpreted as deriving from low income (in contrast to Catholicism or Southern Italian personalism, or low trust, and similar cultural factors that earlier studies stressed). [7]



== Notes ==



Understanding clientelism is important because: [2-3]

  1. Clientelism exists even if modern western democracies – the responsible party government theory fails to account for the lack of programmatic packages in some countries
  2. Clientelistic structures are not just holdovers from the post-war era
  3. Their pervasiveness has implications for economic growth



Three components define clientelistic exchange:

  1. Contingent direct exchange –> ‚Äúcomplex, continuing webs of exchange, obligation and reciprocity‚Äù [19]

In programmatic cases, politicians engage in indirect exchange:

  1. Predictability/trust
  2. Monitoring –> Easier to monitor groups than individual voters, but individual monitoring has taken place where voting isn‚Äôt secret ballot



Role of Economic Development
–           Affluent democracies tend to operate along programmatic lines, rather than clientelistic lines
–           Parties in poor countries tend to practice clientelism


The Effect of Party Competition
–           Party systems are competitive when citizens and politicians have strong incentives to try hard to win supporters at the margin for one or the other partisan camp [28]
–           This is where elections are close or there is a large portion of uncommitted voters
–           They are competitive if changes in electoral support will usher in large shifts in public policy


Exogenous Antecedents of a Politicised Economy
–           Kitschelt and Wilkinson argue that clientelistic practices are shaped by the complex interaction of four principal factors: levels of economic modernization, the nature of the political economy, levels of party competition and patterns of ethnic heterogeneity
–           These four factors interact and may create feedback loops [see 41]
–           Importantly, they argue that  institutional factors have little impact on the extent of clientelism, though they do influence the precise nature of any clientelistic relations [44]
–           It is not just systems with ‚Äúextreme‚Äù parties that are subject to clientelism  –> even Belgium was susceptible to it


Chapter 7: Rethinking Economics and Institutions (Mona M. Lyne)

–           Lyne integrates the voter‚Äôs dilemma and institutional arguments and develops observable implications for party behaviour aimed at credit claiming with voters
–           Voters face a collection action problem akin to a prisoner‚Äôs dilemma in delegating to politicians to provide collective goods
–           Lyne argues that this dilemma is the central causal factor driving voter‚Äôs choice for either clientelistic  or programmatic goods
–           The direct or indirect nature of links between voters and politicians radically alters how institutional variation shapes credit claiming strategies
–           The electoral appeal of clientelism stems not from the specific characteristics of some voters, but from a universal feature of electoral delegation
–           Clientelistic linkages will dominate as long as politicians can maintain rent-seekers‚Äô threshold income and pay the reservation price of the election
–           Programmatic strategies will become electorally viable only once politicians cannot maintain rent-seekers‚Äô threshold income and pay the reservation price of the election
–           Programmatic strategies become more competitive once politicians can no longer pay the reservation price of the election because the benefits producers and voters receive with programmatic politics are not zero-sum [165]
–           There is a finite limit to what can be extracted from resources

–           Intra-party discipline and inter-party divisiveness are crucial to surmounting the credit claiming problems associates with the indirect delivery of collective goods
–           Candidate-centred voting will lead individual politicians to buck the party line more often and focus on providing locally targeted goods [170]
–           Paradoxically, the best electoral strategy for the party results in a pattern of low internal unity that many scholars have argued renders these institutions not parties at all
–           Democracies with competitive elections fail to converge on roughly similar levels of politics entrepreneurship due to factors inherent in electoral delegation to provide collective goods