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Money Politics in Southeast Asia: Patronage, Clientelism, and Electoral Dynamics

Fri, April 1, 5:15 to 7:15pm, Washington State Convention Center, 6th Floor, Room 602

Session Submission Type: Organized Panel


Throughout Southeast Asia, in a range of phenomena sometimes collectively labelled “money politics,” candidates for elected office distribute patronage—particularistic benefits, including cash, goods, appointments, or other rewards—via clientelist networks. Sometimes illegal or illicit, other times above-ground and at least tacitly condoned, such practices span the electoral cycle and deeply inflect the quality and character of governance structures, democracy, and national integration. This panel will bring together scholars using a variety of methods to study on money politics in Southeast Asia. The panel will see to present work tracing the flows and implications of patronage for electoral gain in Southeast Asia, including: Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

Despite the ubiquity of these practices and a long-standing focus on patron–client ties in the literature, surprisingly few cross-country studies have compared the forms, determinants, actors and outcomes of money politics, particularly in Southeast Asia. In this panel we seek to situate patronage and clientelism in the nexus of politicians, parties, brokers and voters. Through richly textured analysis of our cases we will interrogate causes and motivations found across three overarching and overlapping categories: institutional, structural, and normative.

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