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Title Citizen Evaluations of Patrons and Clients in Different Forms of Clientelism
Post date 12/22/2018
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

Recent literature on clientelism highlights the importance of the citizen perspective of clientelism and suggests that citizens’ moral evaluations of clientelism depend on the characteristics of the exchange as well as on citizen characteristics. These contributions provide important new insights and underscore the relevance of pushing further our understanding of citizens evaluations of clientelism. What is missing thus far from the literature is a) a more complete view of how citizens evaluate the variety of empirically existing forms of clientelism, b) what factors drive their evaluation, and c) how they evaluate the role of clients and patrons in the exchange. In addition, it is not clear whether normative judgements of clientelism elaborated in the Western literature on the topic are shared by local communities.

This project seeks to make four contributions that revolve around the following research questions:
1) How do citizens evaluate different forms of clientelism?
2) Who do citizens hold responsible for the exchange? Does this vary across types of clientelism?
3) What factors drive their evaluation? What is the role of a) value of the goods, b) scarcity of the goods, c) inequality of the relationship, d) size of the beneficiary group, and e) adherence to rules in driving the evaluation?
4) Are there differences in how political scientists and Tunisian and South African respondents evaluate clientelism?

We explore these research questions with a conjoint experiment in South Africa and Tunisia, as well as with a sample of political scientists working on normative political theory and on the comparative politics of developing countries.

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

Our hypotheses are based on a framework that emerges from an extensive coding of clientelistic exchanges described in the ethnographic literature. Pellicer et al. (2018) identify two core dimensions that define clientelistic exchanges, “vertical” and “horizontal” that each highlight different problematic aspects of clientelism.
The vertical dimension contains three potentially problematic aspects. More vertical exchanges usually involve more valuable goods from the patron and client’s side. Second, more vertical exchanges involve more subordination. And third, more valuable goods from the patron’s side might involve goods that are more scarce. All these aspects could form the basis of negative evaluations of clientelism (H2-H4).

The second dimension addresses the extent to which private or public goods are being exchanged. At one extreme, only particularistic goods are being exchanged and, at the other, public goods. There are two aspects of this dimension that might contribute to the evaluation. The first is the size of the beneficiary group of citizen demands that ranges from individual/ family to community (as in collective clientelism) to national (as in programmatic politics). The second is whether the distribution of goods is ad hoc or whether a community gets goods because of official allocation rules. In general, exchanges involving public goods that benefit all citizens and public good allocation based on transparent rules are judged normatively better (H5 and H6).

Our first hypothesis concerns the rank-ordering of types of exchanges:

H1: Traditional clientelism (valuable goods are exchanged, patron goods are scarce, and the relationship is unequal) < vote-buying (opposite characteristics) < collective clientelism < programmatic politics

Our second set of hypotheses concern the evaluation of particular dimensions of exchanges

H2: The more valuable the goods that are exchanged, the more negative is the evaluation of the exchange
H3: The more unequal the relation, the more negative is the evaluation of the exchange
H4: Exchanges in which patrons provide scarce goods are judged more negatively
H5: Individual exchanges are evaluated more negatively than collective exchanges
H6: Exchanges based on rules are evaluated more positively than those based on ad hoc decisions by patrons

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

We will test these hypotheses with two conjoint experiments, one tapping into the vertical dimension, and the second tapping into the horizontal dimension.

In the first experiment we manipulate three different key aspects of the exchange: 1.) the value of the goods exchanged, 2.) the scarcity of the good, and 3.) the power relation between patron and client. The value of the exchanged goods varies on three levels (small/medium/large) the other dimensions (scarcity and power relation) vary on two levels (abundant/scarce and equal/unequal). Thus, overall twelve different exchanges are created. Each of these exchanges is illustrated with a drawing to communicate the core aspects to the respondents.

The second experiment is designed to measure citizens’ evaluation of the “horizontal dimension” of clientelism. Thus, the exchanges vary in the level of 1) the size of the beneficiary group (individual vs. collective) and 2) the extent to which they are rule based (whether it’s about getting something ad hoc or by changing policies).

Each of these exchanges is illustrated with a drawing to communicate the core aspects of the exchange to the respondents (see PAP for the illustrations that respondents will see).

Respondents will evaluate a total of six exchanges, four from the vertical, and two from the horizontal dimension. After each of the exchanges, they will be ask to evaluate the exchange as such as well as the behavior of the patron and the client in the exchange.

C4 Country South Africa, Tunisia
C5 Scale (# of Units) 600
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? Yes
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number 18-8478-BO, Ethics Commission, University Duisburg-Essen
C9 Date of IRB Approval 12/13/2018
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Ikapadata in South Africa, ELKA in Tunisia
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? not provided by authors
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors