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    Poor people’s beliefs and the dynamics of clientelism

    Pellicer, Miquel and Wegner, Eva and Benstead, Lindsay J. and Lust, Ellen (2021) Poor people’s beliefs and the dynamics of clientelism. Journal of Theoretical Politics, 33 (3). pp. 300-332. ISSN 0951-6298

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    Why do some poor people engage in clientelism whereas others do not? Why does clientelism sometimes take traditional forms and sometimes more instrumental forms? We propose a formal model of clientelism that addresses these questions focusing primarily on the citizen’s perspective. Citizens choose between supporting broad-based redistribution or engaging in clientelism. Introducing insights from social psychology, we study the interactions between citizen beliefs and values, and their political choices. Clientelism, political inefficacy, and inequality legitimation beliefs reinforce each other leading to multiple equilibria. One of these resembles traditional clientelism, with disempowered clients that legitimize social inequalities. Community connectivity breaks this reinforcement mechanism and leads to another equilibrium where clientelism takes a modern, instrumental, form. The model delivers insights on the role of citizen beliefs for their bargaining power as well as for the persistence and transformation of clientelism. We illustrate the key mechanisms with ethnographic literature on the topic.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Clientelism; Redistribution; System Justification; Political Efficacy;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Economics, Finance and Accounting
    Item ID: 16305
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Miquel Pellicer
    Date Deposited: 13 Jul 2022 08:57
    Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Theoretical Politics
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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