Clientelism and electoral volatility in Brazil
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In this dissertation, I investigate some of the theoretical and empirical puzzles posed by the persistence of clientelist practices in Brazil. As explored in the following Introduction, the competitiveness of the Brazilian electoral system and reports of increased vote buying contrasts with most theoretical explanations for the phenomenon. Chapter Two presents theoretical arguments for why competitiveness changes the nature of clientelist relationships, classifying the phenomenon in traditional and short-term clientelism. Chapter Three analyzes literature about clientelism in different institutional periods of Brazilian history. Chapter Four analyzes electoral volatility; using this new measurement to understand how stable are the connections between federal deputy candidates in Brazil and their city-level electorates. A qualitative analysis offers support to short-term clientelism theory: three selected candidates associated with clientelism and with elevated electoral volatility in 2018 increased their vote shares between elections in municipalities where their precinct-level concentration is higher, suggesting the mechanism of professional brokerage operates as predicted. Chapter Five presents the theoretical implications and methods for the Re-election Candidates Survey. Results show that candidates in a sub-group of participants with high predictability and elevated electoral volatility reported political strategies and displayed voting patterns in accordance with short-term clientelism theory. These results support the claim that this electoral strategy could have been used by a broader set of federal deputy candidates in Brazil during the 2018 elections.