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Clientelism and voting behavior: Evidence from a field experiment in benin


  • Leonard Wantchekon


I conducted a field experiment in Benin to investigate the impact of clientelism on voting behavior. In collaboration with four political parties involved in the 2001 presidential elections, clientelist and broad public policy platforms were designed and run in twenty randomly selected villages of an average of 756 registered voters. Even after controlling for ethnic affiliation, I find that clientelist platforms have significant effects on voting behavior. The effect was strongest for incumbent and for "local" candidates. The evidence indicates that female voters tend to prefer "national" candidates, especially when they run on public policy platforms. In contrast, male voters tend to prefer "local" candidates especially when they run on clientelist platforms.

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  • Leonard Wantchekon, 2003. "Clientelism and voting behavior: Evidence from a field experiment in benin," Natural Field Experiments 00339, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00339

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    1. Avinash Dixit & John Londregan, 1998. "Ideology, Tactics, and Efficiency in Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(2), pages 497-529.
    2. Lemarchand, René, 1972. "Political Clientelism and Ethnicity in Tropical Africa:* Competing Solidarities in Nation-Building," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 66(1), pages 68-90, March.
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