Clients and Constituents: Political Responsiveness in Patronage Democracies (Modern South Asia)
Scholars of distributive politics often emphasize partisanship and clientelism. However, as Jennifer Bussell demonstrates in Clients and Constituents, legislators in "patronage democracies" also provide substantial constituency service: non-contingent, direct assistance to individual citizens. Bussell shows how the uneven character of access to services at the local level-often due to biased allocation on the part of local intermediaries-generates demand for help from higher-level officials. The nature of these appeals in turn provides incentives for politicians to help their constituents obtain public benefits. Drawing on a new cross-national dataset and extensive evidence from India-including sustained qualitative shadowing of politicians, novel elite and citizen surveys, and an experimental audit study with a near census of Indian state and national legislators-this book provides a theoretical and empirical examination of political responsiveness in developing countries. It highlights the potential for an under-appreciated form of democratic accountability, one that is however rooted in the character of patronage-based politics.
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