Centre for Development Economics
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics


Equilibrium Consequences of Clientelism for Government Performance:
An Empirical Investigation


Stuti Khemani

Senior Economist
Development Research Group
The World Bank

Monday, 12th August 2013 at 3:00 PM

Venue : Seminar Room (First Floor)
Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics

All are cordially invited


This paper uses unique survey data from the Philippines to provide the first direct evidence of the equilibrium consequences of clientelist political institutions for government performance. In municipalities where households report more vote buying, government records show lower public investment in basic health services; and, quite strikingly, as a summary measure of weak service delivery performance, a higher percentage of children are severely under-weight. Vote buying is not correlated with other types of public programs that might be more amenable to rents or elite capture or to clientelist targeting, relative to public health. Its correlation with health is highly robust to alternate specifications, and consistent with the following interpretation: where underlying institutions are conducive to the use of clientelist strategies, the politicians who win office are likely to use fewer public resources for, and perform worse in delivering broadly untargeted and pro-poor public services.


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