Skip to main content Accessibility help
Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy
  • Cited by 8
  • Didi Kuo, Stanford University, California
  • Export citation
  • Recommend to librarian
  • Buy the print book

Book description

Political parties in the United States and Britain used clientelism and patronage to govern throughout the nineteenth century. By the twentieth century, however, parties in both countries shifted to programmatic competition. This book argues that capitalists were critical to this shift. Businesses developed new forms of corporate management and capitalist organization, and found clientelism inimical to economic development. Drawing on extensive archival research in the United States and Britain, this book shows how national business organizations pushed parties to adopt programmatic reforms, including administrative capacities and policy-centered campaigns. Parties then shifted from reliance on clientelism as a governing strategy in elections, policy distribution, and bureaucracy. They built modern party organizations and techniques of interest mediation and accommodation. This book provides a novel theory of capitalist interests against clientelism, and argues for a more rigorous understanding of the relationship between capitalism and political development.


'This marvelous book tackles one of the most enduring problems in electoral politics - how do countries make the transition from clientelism to programmatic electoral politics? - and, by exploring the role of business interests in that process, it makes a distinctive contribution to our understanding of how deeply the development of capitalism is intertwined with the development of democracy. It will be of interest to all students and scholars of political development and comparative political economy.'

Peter Hall - Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies, Harvard University, Massachusetts

'Why do political parties abandon clientelism? In this richly detailed account, we learn that parties in Britain and the United States in the late-nineteenth century ended vote buying, reformed the civil service, and proposed predictable policies when a rising business class demanded an effective state. Clientelism, Capitalism, and Democracy will change the way we think about transitions to programmatic politics.'

Frances Hagopian - Jorge Paulo Lemann Senior Lecturer on Government, Harvard University, Massachusetts

'When political scientists asking big questions really do historical work - digging in archives, finding new data sources - the results are powerful. Didi Kuo's Clientalism, Capitalism, and Democracy illustrates this beautifully. In an innovative account of the demise of clientelism in historical Britain and the United States, Kuo demonstrates the underappreciated role of business in smashing clientelist politics. With lively writing and systematic evidence, Kuo's work helps reshape debates about the North Atlantic World's democratization, party politics, and clientelism around the world today.'

Daniel Ziblatt - Harvard University

Refine List

Actions for selected content:

Select all | Deselect all
  • View selected items
  • Export citations
  • Download PDF (zip)
  • Save to Kindle
  • Save to Dropbox
  • Save to Google Drive

Save Search

You can save your searches here and later view and run them again in "My saved searches".

Please provide a title, maximum of 40 characters.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Book summary page views

Total views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between #date#. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed.