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Clientelism and the Utility of the Left-Right Dimension in Latin America


Ruth, Saskia P (2016). Clientelism and the Utility of the Left-Right Dimension in Latin America. Latin American Politics and Society, 58(1):72-97.

Abstract

This article analyzes the relationship between clientelism and citizens' political orientation in Latin America. Consistent political perceptions in the citizenry are central in traditional theories of political competition. This article argues that clientelism hinders the development of consistent political orientation by reducing the utility of information cues, such as left-right labels. More specifically, clientelistic parties generate indifference among their supporters toward the left-right divide by offering them an alternative voting rationale, and increase uncertainty in the political realm by making left-right labels less meaningful. Both arguments are tested with multilevel regression analyses using cross-sectional data covering 18 Latin American countries. The results indicate that clientelistic party supporters are more likely to show indifference toward the left-right dimension and, to a lesser extent, that their left-right orientation corresponds less with their political attitudes.

Abstract

This article analyzes the relationship between clientelism and citizens' political orientation in Latin America. Consistent political perceptions in the citizenry are central in traditional theories of political competition. This article argues that clientelism hinders the development of consistent political orientation by reducing the utility of information cues, such as left-right labels. More specifically, clientelistic parties generate indifference among their supporters toward the left-right divide by offering them an alternative voting rationale, and increase uncertainty in the political realm by making left-right labels less meaningful. Both arguments are tested with multilevel regression analyses using cross-sectional data covering 18 Latin American countries. The results indicate that clientelistic party supporters are more likely to show indifference toward the left-right dimension and, to a lesser extent, that their left-right orientation corresponds less with their political attitudes.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:02 Mar 2017 10:23
Last Modified:12 Mar 2017 06:31
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1548-2456
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1548-2456.2016.00300.x
Official URL:http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1548-2456.2016.00300.x/pdf

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