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Clients and ConstituentsPolitical Responsiveness in Patronage Democracies$
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Jennifer Bussell

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190945398

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190945398.001.0001

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Constituency Service in Comparative Perspective

Constituency Service in Comparative Perspective

(p.295) 11 Constituency Service in Comparative Perspective
Clients and Constituents

Jennifer Bussell

Oxford University Press

Chapter 11 considers the extent to which we should expect to observe similar dynamics of distributive politics in other parts of the world. It draws on a range of cross-national data to show that the contextual characteristics supporting constituency service—the dynamics of patronage democracy, difficulty in access to public benefits, and partisan allocation of benefits at local levels, accompanied by the presence of high-level representatives with little ability to monitor individual electoral behavior—coexist across a range of democracies around the world. It offers evidence to suggest that high-level politicians in countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America also engage in individual-level distribution to build a personal vote, rather than support for their party, and that highly partisan distribution by local operatives may ironically heighten their incentives to assist constituents in a nonpartisan manner. Thus, India is an exemplar of a common trend, rather than a global outlier.

Keywords:   constituency service, patronage democracy, cross-national, Asia, Africa, Latin America

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