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Does Clientelism Work?

Mark Schneider

CASI has just published a working paper titled “Does Clientelism Work? A Test of Guessability in India,” written by Mark Schneider, a doctoral candidate in Political Science at Columbia University.

Central to the literature on clientelism is the assumption that low-level politicians are able to act as “brokers” between voters and higher-level politicians because they possess invaluable information on the partisan preferences in their area. These brokers are believed to be able to monitor votes and efficiently target benefits on a quid pro quo basis in their area because they possess fine-grained information about voters. In the working paper, Schneider challenges this assumption and introduces a behavioral measure- guessability– to test the degree to which local political elites (the “brokers”) can guess the partisan preferences of locals in their constituency. Based on data collected from nearly 1,000 voters and 100 sarpanches in seven districts throughout Rajasthan, Schneider’s research is a must-read for anyone who studies clientelism and targeted distribution in politics.

Read “Does Clientelism Work? A Test of Guessability in India”

Visit the author’s website and follow him on Twitter @schneidertime


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Lok Survey State-wise projected vote shares

Check out this chart detailing projected vote shares for the upcoming Lok Sabha election from our Lok 2014 Pre-election Survey. BJP is forecasted to gain over half of the vote shares in four large states- Rajasthan, Punjab (with SAD coalition partner), Chhattisgarh, and Gujarat!

chart revised

These results are based on a survey conducted between October and December of 2013. Read more about the survey project.

What do you think about the predictions?