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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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Partisanship, the Personal Vote, and Constituency Service

Partisanship, the Personal Vote, and Constituency Service

(p.226) 8 Partisanship, the Personal Vote, and Constituency Service
Clients and Constituents

Jennifer Bussell

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 tests observable implications of the book’s theory on constituency service’s supply, using the field experiment introduced in Chapter 3 to assess politicians’ motivations to respond to petitions. It shows that indicators of a personal vote—that the petitioner has voted for the politician in the past—can have a small positive effect on the quality of a politician’s response, if not the baseline response rate. This chapter also investigates whether information on local blocking affects politicians’ willingness to respond. It shows that, in states with a long history of local elections, politicians interpret information about a failure to receive assistance locally as an indicator of local partisan blocking and, combined with information on electoral history, an indication that the petitioner is a supporter or persuadable voter. Consistent with qualitative evidence from politician shadowing, this experimental evidence substantiates the argument that politicians use constituency service to reach potential supporters.

Keywords:   constituency service, field experiment, politician, blocking, local election

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