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Accepted Paper:

Closer to the people? The effects of political scale on clientelism in Africa  
Leila Demarest (Leiden University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper uses cross-national parliamentary election data and Afrobarometer surveys to investigate how constituency characteristics relate to patterns of clientelism. We investigate how electorate size is associated with MP-citizen contact and the implications of this for democratic beliefs.

Paper long abstract:

Small country and district sizes have long been assumed to foster clientelistic relations between politicians and voters. In this paper we test this long held assumptions in the African context by analyzing whether district size (i.e., number of registered voters) positively affects interpersonal contact between Members of Parliament (MPs) and voters. We also investigate whether smaller district size and closer interpersonal contact influences voters’ democratic beliefs, including beliefs about the responsibilities of politicians (taking care of personal problems of citizens), support for democracy, and trust in politicians. We use lower chamber parliamentary election data and match districts to respondents from the Afrobarometer Round 6 survey. While clientelism is generally believed to be widespread in Africa, this study stresses its variation as well as determinants. In addition, we also assess the nature of clientelism. In particular, we investigate whether MP-voter contact can be viewed as non-party-based constituency service or rather clientelism based on political affiliation.

Panel Poli15
Lawmakers' constituency service in Africa: fostering accountability, development, and democracy?
  Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -