The Demand Side of Clientelism

Political clientelism is considered to be potentially harmful for democratic accountability and equality. This project examines the question of when and why individuals choose to engage in clientelistic relations. Importantly, we consider different types of clientelistic relations in addition to vote buying. We conduct focus groups and survey experiments in rural and urban settings in Tunisia and South Africa. Our surveys use experimental methods in order to identify causal mechanisms and address potential social desirability biases.

This is a 2 year project funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). The project is hosted at the Institute of Political Science, at the University of Duisburg Essen.



PI: Dr. Miquel Pellicer (University of Duisburg-Essen)


Dr. Eva Wegner (University College Dublin)

Prof. Ellen Lust (University of Gothenburg)

Prof. Harold Kincaid (University of Cape Town)

Assoc. Prof. Lindsay Benstead (Portland State University)



Pellicer, M. E. Wegner, L. Benstead and E. Lust Poor people beliefs and the dynamics of clientelism” (under review)