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Mobile Phone Users as Pseudo-brokers in Clientelism: Evidence from Africa
Dr Su-Hyun Lee Assistant Professor and Coordinator of MSc (International Political Economy) Programme
Dr Su-Hyun Lee
Dr Han Il Chang New York University, Abu Dhabi
Dr Han Il Chang
This is a research project in collaboration with Dr Han Il Chang at New York University, Abu Dhabi. In this paper we study the impact of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) on clientelistic exchanges. Relying on the literature on clientelism in developing countries, we maintain that politicians disproportionately direct private transfers to mobile phone users, who can easily share persuasive messages with their communication partners and provide cascading benefits. Analysing data from the fifth wave of the Afrobarometer survey, we find that mobile phone users are indeed more likely to be targeted. Their chances of being targeted decrease as they reside in urban areas or as their feeling of being monitored rises. The data also reveal that mobile phone users are more likely to persuade others to vote for a certain politician upon receiving private transfers. Our findings imply that mobile phone users serve as pseudo-brokers in clientelistic politics in developing democracies.
|Theme:||Country and Region Studies / International Political Economy|