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Clientelistic politics and economic development – an overview

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This paper provides an overview of the literature on political clientelism  and its relation to economic development. It starts by describing the range of mechanisms used by political operatives to monitor how specific voters vote in order to target clientelistic benefits. This is followed by a critical review of existing theoretical models of clientelism, a new model which clarifies the distinction between programmatic pork-barrel politics and clientelism, and an overview of empirical evidence pertaining to the predictions of this model. The paper concludes with possible implications for the dynamics of clientelism and its interaction with the development process, a summary of what has been learnt so far, and open questions that deserve attention in future research.

Authors: Pranab Bardhan, Dilip Mookherjee

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