In_equality Colloquium: "Inequality and Clientelistic Linkage Strategies in Competitive Electoral Democracies"

Tuesday, 25. June 2024
11:45 - 13:15

Y213 and Online

Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality"

Herbert Kitschelt

This event is part of an event series „In_equality Colloquium“.

The bulk of the academic literature on clientelism has asserted that the prevalence of clientelistic transactional mechanisms between politicians and citizens in competitive electoral democracies fosters, entrenches, or at least perpetuates particularly stark economic inequality of income and wealth. The theoretical underpinnings of this claim, however, have been weak and are contestable. Moreover, because of the absence of appropriate empirical measures, not a single study so far has adequately explored this claim in a broad cross-national, let alone longitudinal comparative perspective.

The presentation will be based on a dataset that is not quite complete but inching toward completion. Hence, no paper will be available yet for circulation, but some initial descriptive data scattergrams and simple correlations will be presented. The paper will conclude with the beginnings of an “analysis plan” to probe more deeply into the data that has to be implemented in the rest of the summer 2024.

The presentation covers the following five components:

  • What are democratic accountability mechanisms and how is “clientelism” defined within that set?
  • How are democratic accountability mechanisms studied in the DALP II (Democratic Accountability and Linkage Project) investigation?
  • What theoretical subjects will be addressed with this dataset and—more specifically—what are rival hypotheses concerning the relationship between clientelistic linkages and economic income inequality?
  • Present scattergrams of relationships among partisan linkage mechanisms and between linkage mechanisms and inequality, with a focus on clientelism.
  • Begin to sketch an analysis plan that addresses mechanisms probing into the relationship between clientelism and inequality.

Herbert Kitschelt is Professor of Political Science at Duke University, North Carolina. He specializes in comparative political parties and elections in established and new democracies, comparative public policy and political economy, as well as 20th century social theory. Among his numerous publications is the book The Radical Right in Western Europe (with Anthony J. McGann), which received the 1996 Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award from the American Political Science Association. His latest projects include a global comparison of citizen-politician linkage mechanisms in democracies, and a renewed effort to map and account for the transformation of political party system in postindustrial democracies.

Link for online participation