Journal Special Issue
Clientelist Politics and Development

Political clientelism — which reflects strategic, discretionary, and targeted exchange of private goods and services for political support to the incumbent — has characterised distributive politics in the Global South for decades. The conditional nature of exchange between political parties and voters, and the asymmetric balance of power between these actors, has been a distinctive feature of clientelism whereby politicians offer gifts (and promises) in pre-election times or benefits in post-election periods, in exchange for voter support.

A rich literature in political science and economics has studied clientelism, including consideration of underlying mechanisms and processes; correlates and contributing factors; and political, social, and economic consequences. Concerns about the use of public resources as a part of the clientelistic exchange has been widely studied.

The literature highlights the detrimental effects of clientelism on state capacity, efficient allocation of public resources, and accountability and governance. Understanding clientelism, its causes, and consequences is thus crucial from an economic, social, and political perspective.

Table of contents
  1. 1. Clientelism and governance
    Pranab Bardhan
    More Working Paper | Clientelism and governance
  2. 2. Formalizing clientelism in Kenya: From Harambee to the Constituency Development Fund
    Ken Ochieng' Opalo
    More Working Paper | Formalizing clientelism in Kenya
  3. 3. Receiving more, expecting less?: Social ties, clientelism and the poor’s expectations of future service provision
    Prisca Jöst, Ellen Lust
    More Working Paper | Social ties, clientelism, and the poor’s expectations of future service provision
  4. 4. Clientelism, corruption and the rule of law
    Staffan I. Lindberg, Maria C. Lo Bue, Kunal Sen
    More Working Paper | Clientelism, public goods provision, and governance
  5. 5. Do gifts buy votes?: Evidence from sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America
    Jorge Gallego, Jenny Guardado, Leonard Wantchekon
    More Working Paper | Do gifts buy votes?
  6. 6. Poverty, social networks, and clientelism
    Nico Ravanilla, Allen Hicken
    More Working Paper | Poverty, social networks, and clientelism
  7. 7. Clientelistic politics and pro-poor targeting: Rules versus discretionary budgets
    Dilip Mookherjee, Anusha Nath
    More Working Paper | Clientelistic politics and pro-poor targeting
  8. 8. How clientelism undermines state capacity: Evidence from Mexican municipalities
    Ana L. De La O
    More Working Paper | How clientelism undermines state capacity
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