Coethnicity and clientelism in divided societies: Insights from an experimental study of political behavior in Lebanon.

With Melani Cammett and Sami AtaLlah.

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In this paper, we address several interrelated questions about what drives political behavior in developing countries, where clientelism structures political life and identity-based cleavages are politicized. First, does clientelism “buy” support and, if so, do citizens distinguish between low-value and high-value clientelist goods? Second, to expand beyond the predominant focus on clientelism in research on developing countries, we explore whether citizens find programmatic platforms appealing. Third, we assess the appeal of coethnicity net of other factors. Does shared ethnic or religious identities between candidates and voters in and of itself garner political support? Finally, we move beyond voting to see what candidate attributes are likely to inspire citizens to engage in more costly and active forms of participation such as attendance at rallies. To test the influence of these distinct factors on citizen political behavior, we use a conjoint survey experiment in Lebanon conducted on a nationally representative sample of approximately 2,400 households. 

For summary of the results see our write-up for the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies (in Arabic here).

The pre-analysis plan (20170907AA) is available here on the Experiments and Governance in Politics (EGAP) website.