Patronage and decentralization: The politics of poverty in India

Anoop Sadanandan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Decentralization advances patronage politics in distinct ways. First, in decentralized states both central and local politicians distribute patronage to enhance their political support. Second, local elections reveal information to central leaders about the geographic distribution of electorally salient voters. Central leaders can use this information to target particularistic benefits to these voters. Third, elected local politicians have individual strategies to distribute patronage, in spite of or in addition to the clientelistic strategies of the political parties they represent. Evidence from India indicates that decentralization has contributed to more extensive distribution of patronage in decentralized states. Data from Indian states and villages illustrate the incentives at the state and local levels that shape the distribution of patronage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-228
Number of pages18
JournalComparative Politics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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