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Motivating the machine: which brokers do parties pay?

Brierley, Sarah ORCID: 0000-0002-0902-6763 and Nathan, Noah L. (2022) Motivating the machine: which brokers do parties pay? Journal of Politics, 84 (3). 1539 - 1555. ISSN 0022-3816

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Identification Number: 10.1086/717185


Parties rely on brokers to win elections in much of the developing world. How do parties use compensation to motivate these grassroots agents? Parties often decentralize broker payment decisions to local party elites. In addition to helping their party win elections, local elites seek personal career advancement. Because local elites typically rely on brokers’ support to advance, they have an incentive to use payments to strengthen their ties to brokers. Using a multiwave survey, we track the full range of payments to over 1,000 brokers from Ghana’s ruling party—the party most capable of distributing patronage benefits—across an electoral cycle. We show that the party operates a hybrid payment system missed by previous studies. The party rewards the brokers who deliver the most votes immediately after elections. But long after campaigns, when most payments are made, local party elites prioritize payments to brokers with upward connections to elites.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Southern Political Science Association
Divisions: Government
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2021 14:42
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2023 20:27

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