What is Political Clientelism?

Meaning of Political Patronage

Political clientelism is characterized, in general, by a form of relationship between different political actors. They involve the granting of jobs, public and fiscal benefits, economic advantages, jobs, donations in exchange for political support.

Translating in most cases into votes for you or your allies. That is, an individual ” sells ” his political support for him in exchange for some kind of personal favor by becoming a ” client ” of politicians capable of offering some kind of benefit .

Examples of clientelism

The clientelistic policies are designed mainly for the middle class and the poor against the poor administrative system that they do not understand. Therefore, it is surprising that patronage systems depend on immigration.

Newcomers seeking job priority and a roof over their heads. We find exactly the same phenomenon at the height of the wave of immigration to the United States between 1880 and 1930. We have, then, the appearance of Chiefs who manage the affairs of the immigrant communities.

It is true that the ability of the patronage system to meet the needs of newcomers. Entering an exchange relationship (political support service against) is a form of political integration.

In fact, the patronage system has undoubtedly contributed to the integration of immigrants.

Difference between Clientelism and Corruption

Corruption is an exchange based on cash benefits that are generally short-lived, while patronage presupposes a long-term relationship between politicians and voters . A relationship based on recognition, friendship, etc.

Also, sponsorship is not illegal . However, it is clear that the opacity surrounding clientelist management provides fertile ground for the development of corrupt practices. The award of public contracts , often rewarded for their service and attention to keeping local businesses alive.

Political clientelism is, therefore, a system based on exchange relationships that occurred at different times in political history. As a political phenomenon , it has changed facets throughout history and can rise and fall in power according to the political actors involved and the specific demands of that situation.

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