Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 November 2021
Patronage contracts are distributed to perceived supporters in exchange for political services. Politicians hire supporters for patronage positions because their commitment to provide these political services in the future is credible (see Chapter 2). Indeed, public sector employees under patronage contracts often help during elections by attending rallies, assisting the campaign with a variety of tasks, and acting as partisan poll watchers. Between elections, they also fulfill their side of the agreement by dispensing favors to voters. Chapters 3 to 6 test the theory of self-enforcing patronage using individual-level data I collected from a survey of public employees fielded in three Argentinean municipalities. I also rely on months of ethnographic work, during which I interviewed public sector employees, political brokers, high-level public officials, and politicians.