Clientelism – Hicken (2011)


This article explores the concept of clientelism. Clientelism is characterised by the combination of particularistic targeting and contingency-based exchange which thrives in both autocracies and democracies and within a large variety of cultural contexts. Hicken explores the origins and dynamics of clientelism, focusing on the relationships between clientelism and democracy and between clientelism and development. It evaluates the following elements of clientelism: dyadic relationships, contingency, hierarchy, and iteration and then explores the connection between clientelism and a variety of political and economic outcomes, including democratic accountability, corruption, and public goods provision. The article concludes by outlining some remaining empirical and theoretical challenges and highlighting recent innovations in data collection and empirical methods.