The micro-foundations of one-party hegemony: development and clientelism

Date: Oct, 2011
ODID Working Paper No. 192
Author(s): Aris Trantidis (London School of Economics and Political Science)

While social cleavages and policy divisions generate competitive and often unstable party systems, one-party hegemony is distinguished by low degrees of political contestation. That suggests that there must be a modus operandi that reduces government contestability preventing social divisions from developing into alternative political alignments.

The paper puts forward a causal explanation linking clientelism with the emergence, consolidation and demise of one-party hegemonic regimes. As a by-product of a model of economic development in which the state retains a key role in the distribution of economic resources, clientelism is a political strategy widely used to set up collective incentives and to offer a mode of interest accommodation that transcends and mitigates socioeconomic divides. Under certain structural conditions, it becomes effective in pre-empting the emergence of a truly competitive opposition.

ODID Author(s)