Patrons, Clients and Policies – Kitschelt and Wilkinson (2009)


This edited volume describes and explains different forms of clientelistic politics. Its observations are in direct contrast to the usual assumptions of programmatic political competition whereby parties compete for citizen's votes by offering alternative policy platforms. This model ignores the quite different type of patronage-based, party–voter linkage that exists in many developing countries and some advanced democracies. In these systems citizen–politician linkages are based on direct material inducements targeted to individuals and small groups of citizens. Democratic accountability in such a system does not result primarily from politicians' success in delivering collective goods such as economic growth, jobs, monetary stability, or national health care, nor does it rest on improving overall distributive outcomes along the lines favoured by broad categories of citizens. Instead, clientelistic accountability represents a transaction, the direct exchange of a citizen's vote in return for direct payments or continuing access to employment, goods, and services. The volume comprises a diverse collection of chapters covering different systems of clientelism operating across the world. It argues for more serious study of clientelist politics and its effects, pointing to the important implications for how international financial institutions should deal with a given country.