Populism and patronage: Why populists win elections in India, Asia, and beyond

Book


Kenny, Paul D.. (2017). Populism and patronage: Why populists win elections in India, Asia, and beyond Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198807872.001.0001
AuthorsKenny, Paul D.
Abstract

Populist rule is bad for democracy, yet in country after country, populists are being voted into office. Populism and Patronage shows that the populists such as Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi win elections when the institutionalized ties between non-populist parties and voters decay. Yet, the explanations for this decay differ across different types of party system. Populism and Patronage focuses on the particular vulnerability of patronage-based party systems to populism. Patronage-based systems are ones in which parties depend on the distribution of patronage through a network of brokers to mobilize voters. Drawing on principal agent theory and social network theory, this book argues that an increase in broker autonomy weakens the ties between patronage parties and voters, making the latter available for direct mobilization by populists. Decentralization is thus a major factor behind populist success in patronage democracies. Populists exploit the breakdown in national patronage networks by connecting directly with the people through the media and mass rallies, avoiding or minimizing the use of deeply institutionalized party structures. Mrs Gandhi herself famously promised to go “once more direct to the people” in her populist election campaign of 1971. This book not only reinterprets the recurrent appeal of populism in India, but also offers a more general theory of populist electoral support that is tested using qualitative and quantitative data on cases from across Asia and around the world, including Indonesia, Japan, Venezuela, and Peru.

Keywordspopulism; patronage; clientelism; India; party systems; decentralization; Asia; principal agent problem; social network theory
ISBN9780198807872
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780198807872.001.0001
Research GroupInstitute for Humanities and Social Sciences
Publisher's version
File Access Level
Controlled
Year2017
PublisherOxford University Press
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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