Clientelism in Historical Perspective: the 19th-century United States

Thursday, October 10, 2013
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Encina Ground Floor Conference Room


What explains the decline of clientelism in advanced democracies? This paper examines the United States and Britain from 1880-1920, a period in which political parties shifted from clientelistic to programmatic competition. I theorize that business pressures incentivize parties to change clientelistic strategies. Using archival and quantitative evidence, I find that the rise of managerial capitalism, the establishment of national business organizations, and the increasing costs of clientelism to economic development led businesses to push for programmatic reforms.

Speaker Bio:

Didi Kuo is a fellow with the Project on American Democracy at CDDRL. Her research interests include clientelism, democracy, and corruption. Her book project investigates clientelism in historical and comparative perspective using archival resources and new measures of electoral fraud. She received her PhD in political science from Harvard University in 2013.