Patronage and Public Goods Provisioning in an Unequal Land

  • Hadia MajidEmail author
  • Rashid Memon
Original Research


This study explores the relationship between economic and political inequalities and access to public goods provisioning in Pakistan. We construct measures of political inequality and political patronage using voting data, and economic inequality measures using representative household data. Firstly, we find a strong concave relationship between economic inequality and access to residential supply of natural gas. Secondly, we find that the presence of strong-men who can capture large vote shares is associated with higher access to natural gas. We uncover an optimal size of patrons: Patrons have an insignificant positive effect on access when patrons capture less than 20% of the votes and an insignificant negative effect when they capture more than 30%. At 20%, they have a positive effect that is significant in both a statistical and an economic sense.


Horizontal inequality Ethnic inequality Publicly provided goods Political patronage 

JEL Classification

D63 I24 H42 



This paper was prepared under a grant administered by United Nations University UNU-WIDER. We are grateful to Maheen Javaid, Amna Naveed, and Syeda Warda Riaz for exceptional research assistance. We are also thankful to Rachel Gisselquist, Carla Canelas, Nishant Chaddha, two anonymous referees and to participants at the UNU-WIDER workshop for their comments and feedback.


This study was funded by UNU-WIDER (Grant number CP-59).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

We declare that there is no conflict of interest in the researching and writing of the paper “Patronage and public goods provisioning in an unequal land”.


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© UNU-WIDER 2017 2017
corrected publication February 2019

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsLahore University of Management SciencesLahorePakistan

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