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In many young democracies, local politics remain a bastion of nondemocratic practices, from corruption to clientelism to abuse of power. In a context where these practices are widespread, will local politicians ever voluntarily abandon them? Focusing on the practice of clientelism in social policy in Argentina, this book argues that only the combination of a growing middle class and intense political competition leads local politicians to opt out of clientelism. Drawing on extensive fieldwork, an original public opinion survey, and cross-municipal data in Argentina, this book illustrates how clientelism works and documents the electoral gains and costs of the practice. In doing so, it points to a possible subnational path towards greater accountability within democracy.Read more
- The first book to provide empirical evidence for the costs of clientelism among middle class voters - using an original survey experiment and a conventional public opinion survey
- Combines a variety of empirical techniques, including in-depth fieldwork, an original cross-municipal survey on social policy implementation, and an original survey experiment
- Demonstrates that intense political competition encourages clientelism when voters are poor and discourages clientelism when voters are mostly middle class
- Shows how politician reliance on clientelism can vary within a single country, province, and even political party
- Winner of the 2015 Donna Lee Van Cott Award, Political Institutions Section, Latin American Studies Association
Reviews & endorsements
"This book offers a succinct and insightful account of the workings of patronage and vote buying in Argentina. Professor Weitz-Shapiro shows that middle-class voters may break away from the perverse equilibrium of beliefs and strategies involved in clientelism, inducing politicians to supply higher quality social protection policies. She provides hope for the improvement of the quality of governance in new democracies. The book is a must-read for scholars of social policy and development around the world."
Alberto Diaz Cayeros, Stanford University, CaliforniaSee more reviews
"Even in polities where clientelism is widespread, some politicians choose alternative electoral strategies. By highlighting its political costs as well as benefits, and providing experimental evidence that vote buying generates hostility among the middle classes, Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro illuminates how clientelism may be curbed. All students of developing democracies will want to read her book."
Thad Dunning, University of California, Berkeley
"This book takes on an important question in contemporary scholarship in comparative politics in a serious and sophisticated way. Professor Weitz-Shapiro provides a theory that jointly accounts for both the costs and benefits of clientelism in explaining choices by mayors to engage in, or forego, clientelist politics. This is a novel claim, and it certainly is backed by the most sophisticated effort at theory testing of such a model of which I am aware."
Marcus Kurtz, Ohio State University
"Professor Weitz-Shapiro's book is both an original and important contribution to a set of seminal questions in comparative politics that remain unresolved. It will both improve the state of knowledge on clientelism and push the scholarly debate forward. I plan to use her book as an example in my research methods course, which emphasizes conceptualization and measurement as the fundamental building blocks to research design."
Pauline Jones Luong, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
"Weitz-Shapiro's book is an important contribution to the study of subnational politics because the potential costs clientelism may have for politicians are rarely analyzed."
Michael Buehler, Publius: The Journal of Federalism
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- Date Published: October 2014
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107073623
- length: 208 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
- weight: 0.48kg
- contains: 17 b/w illus. 11 tables
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Accountability, democracy, and the study of clientelism
2. Making clientelism work: politician behavior and voter beliefs
3. Curbing clientelism: why some politicians opt out
4. Clientelism, social policy, and measurement
5. Clientelism across municipalities in Argentina's National Food Security Program
6. Survey and experimental evidence for the costs of clientelism
7. Moving towards accountability?: comparative perspectives and policy implications.
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