Political parties and clientelism in transition countries: evidence from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

Abstract

Earlier research focused extensively on political parties as promoters and users of clientelism. However, previous studies have also revealed that parties are not monolithic organizations and they can be seen through the lenses of several faces or components. As such, it is unclear which of the party features is more conducive to clientelism than others. This article analyses several party features in relation to clientelism and tests their explanatory power. Our analysis is driven by a differentiation between several features of the political parties: performance in office, public funding, territorial coverage and notoriety of local political leaders. We rely on data from an original expert survey conducted for 15 parties in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine between February and June 2018.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

References

  1. Auyero, J. 1999. “From the Client’s Point(s) of View”: How Poor People Perceive and Evaluate Political Clientelism. Theory and Society 28 (2): 297–334.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Auyero, J. 2000. The Logic of Clientelism in Argentina: An Ethnographic Account. Latin American Research Review 35 (3): 55–81.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Birch, S. 1997. Nomenklatura Democratization: Electoral Clientelism in Post-soviet Ukraine. Democratization 4 (4): 40–62.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Brun, D.A., and L. Diamond (eds.). 2014. Clientelism, Social Policy, and the Quality of Democracy. Baltimore: JHU Press.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Bolleyer, N. 2011. New Party Organization in Western Europe: Of Party Hierarchies, Stratarchies and Federations. Party Politics 18 (3): 315–336.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Calvo, E., and M.V. Murillo. 2004. Who Delivers? Partisan Clients in the Argentine Electoral Market. American Journal of Political Science 48 (4): 742–757.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Carreras, M., and Y. İrepoğlu. 2013. Trust in Elections, Vote Buying, and Turnout in Latin America. Electoral Studies 32 (4): 609–619.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Chubb, J. 1981. The Social Bases of an Urban Political Machine: The Case of Palermo. Political Science Quarterly 63: 107–125.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Chhibber, P., and K. Kollman. 2004. The Formation of National Party Systems: Federalism and Party Competition in Britain. India and the US: Canada.

    Google Scholar 

  10. D’Attoma, J. 2017. Divided Nation: The North-South Cleavage in Italian Tax Compliance. Polity 49 (1): 69–99.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Enyedi, Z., and G. Toka. 2007. The Only Game in Town. Party Politics in Hungary. In Party Politics in New Democracies, ed. P. Webb and S. White, 147–177. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Gherghina, S. 2014. Party Organization and Electoral Volatility in Central and Eastern Europe: Enhancing Voter Loyalty. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Gherghina, S., and C. Volintiru. 2017. A New Model of Clientelism: Political Parties, Public Resources, and Private Contributors. European Political Science Review 9 (1): 115–137.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. González-Ocantos, E., C. Kiewiet de Jonge, and D.W. Nickerson. 2015. Legitimacy Buying. Comparative Political Studies 48 (9): 1127–1158.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Grzymala-Busse, A. 2007. Rebuilding Leviathan: Party Competition and State Exploitation in Post-communist Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Harmel, R., and K. Janda. 1982. Parties and Their Environments. Limits to Reform. New York: Longman.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hasen, R.L. 2000. Vote Buying. California Law Review 88 (5): 1323–1371.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hopkin, J. 2002, March. The emergence and convergence of the cartel party: Parties, state and economy in Southern Europe. In panel on ‘The New Political Economy of European Political Parties’ at the Conference of Europeanists, Chicago.

  19. Kawata, J. (ed.). 2006. Comparing Political Corruption and Clientelism. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Katz, R.S., and P. Mair. 1993. The Evolution of Party Organizations in Europe: The Three Faces of Party Organization. The American Review of Politics 14: 593–617.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. Kitschelt, H. 2000. Linkages Between Citizens and Politicians in Democratic Polities. Comparative political studies 33 (6–7): 845–879.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Kitschelt, H., and S.I. Wilkinson (eds.). 2007. Patrons, Clients, and Policies: Patterns of Democratic Accountability and Political Competition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  23. Kopecký, P., P. Mair, and M. Spirova. 2012. Party Patronage and Party Government in European Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Manzetti, L., and C.J. Wilson. 2007. Why Do Corrupt Governments Maintain Public Support? Comparative Political Studies 40 (8): 949–970.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Mares, I., A. Muntean, and T. Petrova. 2017. Pressure, Favours, and Vote-buying: Experimental Evidence from Romania and Bulgaria. Europe-Asia Studies 69 (6): 940–960.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. March, L. 2006. Power and Opposition in the Former Soviet Union: The Communist Parties of Moldova and Russia. Party Politics 12 (3): 341–365.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Martz, J.D. 1997. The Politics of Clientelism: Democracy and the State in Colombia. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Medina, L.F., and S.C. Stokes. 2002. Clientelism as Political Monopoly. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Meyer-Sahling, J.H., and T. Veen. 2012. Governing the Post-communist State: Government Alternation and Senior Civil Service Politicisation in Central and Eastern Europe. East European Politics 28 (1): 4–22.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Mueller, M.M. 2013. ‘Public’ Security and Patron-Client Exchanges in Latin America. Government and Opposition 48 (4): 548–569.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Nichter, S. 2008a. Vote Buying or Turnout Buying? Machine Politics and the Secret Ballot. American political Science Review 102 (1): 19–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Nichter, S. 2008b. Vote Buying or Turnout Buying? Machine Politics and the Secret Ballot. The American Political Science Review 102 (1): 19–31.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Panebianco, A. 1988. Political Parties: Organization and Power. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  34. Piattoni, S. (ed.). 2001. Clientelism, Interests, and Democratic Representation: The European Experience in Historical and Comparative Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Powell, J.D. 1970. Peasant Society and Clientelist Politics. American Political Science Review 64 (2): 411–425.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  36. Protsyk, O., and A. Wilson. 2003. Centre Politics in Russia and Ukraine: Patronage, Power and Virtuality. Party Politics 9 (6): 703–727.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Roniger, L. 2004. Political Clientelism, Democracy, and Market Economy. Comparative Politics 36: 353–375.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Saikkonen, I.A. 2017. Electoral Mobilization and Authoritarian Elections: Evidence from Post-Soviet Russia. Government and Opposition 52 (1): 51–74.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Schaffer, F.C. (ed.). 2007. Elections for Sale: The Causes and Consequences of Vote Buying. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Stefes, C.H. 2006. Understanding Post-Soviet Transitions: Corruption, Collusion and Clientelism. New York: Springer.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Stokes, S.C., T. Dunning, and M. Nazareno. 2013. Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  42. Stokes, S.C. 2005. Perverse Accountability: A Formal Model of Machine Politics with Evidence from Argentina. American Political Science Review 99 (3): 315–325.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Van Biezen, I., and P. Kopecký. 2007. The State and the Parties: Public Funding, Public Regulation and Rent-Seeking in Contemporary Democracies. Party politics 13 (2): 235–254.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Volintiru, C. 2012. Clientelism: Electoral Forms and Functions in the Romanian Case Study. Romanian Journal of Political Science 12 (1): 35.

    Google Scholar 

  45. Volintiru, C. (2016). Clientelism and Cartelization in Post-communist Europe: The Case of Romania. Doctoral dissertation, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

  46. Wantchekon, L. 2003. Clientelism and Voting Behavior: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Benin. World Politics 55 (3): 399–422.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  47. Wedel, J.R. 2003. Clans, Cliques and Captured States: Rethinking ‘Transition’ in Central and Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union. Journal of International Development 15 (4): 427–440.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Sergiu Gherghina.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Descriptive statistics for the variables included in the analysis

  Mean SD Min Max N
Clientelistic practices 2.68 1.03 1 4 763
Performance 2.05 1.00 1 5 787
Private funding 2.32 0.75 1 3 636
Territorial coverage 2.81 0.97 1 4 561
Leaders’ notoriety 2.63 0.88 1 4 578

Appendix 2: The confidence of experts in their assessments

figurea

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gherghina, S., Volintiru, C. Political parties and clientelism in transition countries: evidence from Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Acta Polit (2020). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41269-020-00151-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Clientelism
  • Political parties
  • Funding
  • Organization
  • EaP countries