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13 - The demise of clientelism in affluent capitalist democracies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 October 2009

Herbert Kitschelt
Affiliation:
George V. Allen Professor of International Relations in the Department of Political Science, Duke University
Herbert Kitschelt
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
Steven I. Wilkinson
Affiliation:
Duke University, North Carolina
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Summary

The practice of political clientelism in four stable, affluent, post-industrial countries with democratic practices – Austria, Belgium, Italy, and Japan – goes back to the beginning of the post-World War II period, but has older origins. The persistence of clientelism in these polities is at odds with theories of political development, state formation, and democratic institutions. Such theories would not expect to encounter a prominence of clientelistic linkages in wealthy democracies (all four countries), in countries with early bureaucratic-professional state formation (Austria and Japan) and with democratic institutions inimical to personalist candidate competition (Austria, Belgium).

While the explanatory domain of development theories for clientelism may be impressive in global comparative analysis, it requires a supplement and replacement for these four affluent OECD countries that draws on the analysis of political-economic governance structures and is loosely inspired by the variety of capitalism literature (Hall and Soskice 2001). Given certain conditions, different property rights and governance structures across a range of countries may deliver similar rates of growth and development. Some of these growth-enhancing governance structures involve a political allocation of scarce resources either through outright state ownership and control of productive facilities or the indirect guidance of private market participants through public regulatory and financial inducements. Such arrangements – as well as some institutional designs to deliver social policy benefits – retrospectively turned out to facilitate the growth of clientelistic linkage practices between politicians and electoral constituencies and in some instances may well have been designed to deliver such consequences.

Type
Chapter
Information
Patrons, Clients and Policies
Patterns of Democratic Accountability and Political Competition
, pp. 298 - 321
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

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