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Title:Quid-pro-quo or no? Targeted electoral distribution in Brazil
Author(s):Plutowski, Luke Alan
Director of Research:Winters, Matthew
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Winters, Matthew
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Canache, Damarys; Gaines, Brian; Sin, Gisela
Department / Program:Political Science
Discipline:Political Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):vote buying
Abstract:Scholarship on clientelism typically defines the practice as the contingent exchange of goods and services for political support, but many fail to adequately consider, both theoretically and empirically, the quid-pro-quo aspect of this relationship. In this dissertation, I describe and document the differences between clientelism and other forms of targeted, non-contingent distribution, showing evidence that the two are distinct strategies that can coexist in the same electoral space. To explore this topic, I collected original qualitative and quantitative evidence from Brazil, a country whose politicians, for reasons not yet fully understood, employ a wide variety of campaign strategies. During the 2018 general elections, I spent months with legislative election campaigns, interviewed dozens of ordinary voters, activists, and community leaders, and implemented two original nationwide surveys which focused on a series of vignette and conjoint experiments. The empirical results provide three main contributions. First, I estimate that politicians offer handouts (non-contingent electoral gifts) just as often as they make vote buying offers (contingent electoral exchanges), though the former has only recently emerged as a concept in political science. The distinction is important, because results also show that the two types of distribution are targeted toward different types of voters (based on socioeconomic class). Second, I find that voters disapprove of nonprogrammatic forms of distribution that are coercive over voters' electoral decisions. This is the first empirical documentation that voters reject "perverse accountability," the idea that politicians monitor the voting behavior of their constituents. Finally, I find that voters who see few ideological differences between major parties are more likely to approve of and receive handouts. This provides support for a novel explanation of why politicians choose to give electoral gifts without demanding anything in return: handouts simply help candidates differentiate themselves when there are many competitors and/or ideological appeals are ineffective. Overall, this study significantly improves our understanding of citizen-elite linkages in middle-income democracies.
Issue Date:2020-07-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2020 Luke Plutowski
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-10-07
Date Deposited:2020-08

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