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The connections of party brokers

Brierley, Sarah and Nathan, Noah L. (2020) The connections of party brokers. Journal of Politics. ISSN 0022-3816 (In Press)

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Seminal models of clientelism assert that parties value brokers for their strong downward tiesto voters. Despite its dominance, scholars have not empirically scrutinized key assumptionsof this theory due to the challenges of measuring brokers’ network connections. We analyzeunique data from three sources – Ghana’s voter register, a handmade catalogue of local elites,and a large-scale survey of aspiring party brokers. We show that the observable implicationsof the standard model do not hold: brokers know surprisingly few voters, brokers with moredownward connections are not the most active or effective, and parties do not select the brokerswho know the most voters. Instead, brokers with the most upward connections to local elitesappear to be the most valuable to parties. We build inductively from these results to developan alternative theory of brokers, proposing that many parties value “problem solvers” over“monitors.”

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 the Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Government
Subjects: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2020 12:24
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2020 08:48

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