Democratization And Clientelism: Why Are Young Democracies Badly Governed? [book]

Philip Keefer
2005 Policy Research Working Papers  
There is no consensus -but many competing theories -about the conditions under which political competition supports economic development in some countries but not in others. Theories range from the lack of political "institutionalization" to the lack of elite interest in the economic development of non-elites to voter information and polarization, and variations in electoral institutions. Keefer (2002) argues instead that political incentives to promote development depend on the ability of
more » ... ical competitors to make credible pre-electoral promises to voters. When promises are only credible to voters with whom competitors have personal relationships, patron-client relationships in society are replicated in politics, with notable consequences for policy making. In this paper, significant and previously unnoticed variation in the policy performance of young and old democracies is documented. It is robust to controls for other political explanations. Young democracies are more corrupt and exhibit less rule of law, which is known, but they also exhibit more public investment and lower school enrollment. Consistent with the theory, majoritarian electoral rules and ethnic polarization matter most in countries with fewer continuous years of competitive elections, consistent with the argument that personalized promises to voters matter most in such countries.
doi:10.1596/1813-9450-3594 fatcat:ge46sy6kczbylevymxcwctdvbe