Paths to Political Power: Clienteslism in European Democracies using Fuzzy Set Qualitative Analysis
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Clientelism research is problematic in its conceptualization, observation and explanation. As such, its research agenda stands to benefit from a more systematic comparative research method equipped to deal with both causal conjunction and equifinality. This research defines clientelism as “A dyad focused on the exchange of resources which are for at least one part political, and that is furthermore mutually beneficial, continuous and asymmetrical in nature”, and uses the DALP expert survey data to measure clientelism. The goal of this research is to see which theories can best explain the differences in levels of electoral clientelism among European Democracies (N=31). To this end I used the fsQCA-method which resulted in the overall findings that there is no single necessary condition explaining electoral clientelism and that three sufficient pathways to the outcome (clientelism) exist. Of these, low levels of professionalism in the public administration in conjunction with high levels of competition is the most followed path. Furthermore, economic determents increasingly lack explaining power if countries are past a certain development threshold. Based on the analysis, future research on clientelism in developed (welfare) states can benefit by primarily focus on electoral competition and the quality of public administrations.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen