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V-Dem Seminar with Brigitte Seim & Daniel Pemstein

Research profile seminar


We argue that the transition from clientelism to programmatic politics is not simply a structural event-where politicians build policy programs when vote-buying becomes inefficient-but a political process where an emerging middle class uses information about clientelistic behavior to inform its beliefs about parties´ commitment to their policy promises. Because wealthier voters benefit especially from programmatic policy, they will tend to reject parties that they know are diverting resources to vote-buying. In turn, politicians have reason to hide clientelism from the emerging middle class. In this paper, we test a formal model of these expectations in a survey experiment executed in Nepal leading up to the December 2017 election. We examine whether middle class voters in Nepal are less susceptible to clientelistic promises, are willing to take costly action to punish clientelistic behavior by candidates and parties, and whether, in turn, parties are aware of this and are taking costly action to hide their clientelistic practices from certain groups of voters. We then present a research design for a field experiment that will compile and disseminate our survey findings regarding patterns of clientelism to Nepalese voters during the final weeks leading up to the election, and then examine the effect this information has on election outcomes.

BIO Brigitte Seim (née Zimmerman)

Brigitte Seim is a scholar of comparative politics, focusing on the political economy of development. Her research agenda examines the relationship between citizens and political officials, with a particular emphasis on clientelism, corruption, and accountability. She obtained her PhD in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego in 2014. She was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) Project for 2014-2015 and is currently a V-Dem Project Manager. She is currently at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy and Peter Thacher Grauer Fellow in 2015.

BIO: Dan Pemstein

Dan Pemstein is a political economist and methodologist. One thread of his work uses purpose-built statistical models and natural language processing techniques to ask how institutions channel information and ambition to shape behavior by politicians and parties in the European Union. Another branch of his research adapts tools from educational testing and legislative studies to address key measurement problems in the study of comparative institutions. He also studies digital political economy and dabbles at the intersection of behavioral economics and cognitive psychology. Dan, who obtained his PhD from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at North Dakota State University and Project Manager for Measurement Methods for the Varieties of Democracy Project.

Date: 10/11/2017

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM

Categories: Social Sciences

Organizer: Department of Political Science

Location: B225

Contact person: Natalia Stepanova

Page Manager: Lars-Olof Karlsson|Last update: 3/3/2008

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