Clients and Constituents
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.
Oxford University Press