Date of Degree

9-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Program

Liberal Studies

Advisor

Mark Ungar

Subject Categories

Comparative Politics | Urban Studies and Planning

Keywords

Clientelism, Regime, Turkey, Mexico, Housing, Urbanization

Abstract

Scholars have identified the abuse of state resources as one of the primary indicators of whether a country will democratize. Clientelist networks are critical to how incumbents exploit state assets to remain in power. When the informal relationships of clientelist parties undermine the formal institutions of the state, the regime is no longer democratic, even where competitive elections take place. Alternately, if a ruling party in such hybrid regimes loses its monopoly on state power, it creates an opening for other parties and social groups to push for democratization. Mexico and Turkey are critical case studies on how clientelist parties function and their effect upon political regimes. In both cases, informal relationships of clientelism have endured even as the economic and political conditions that gave rise to it have changed. Changes in housing policy in Mexico and Turkey illustrate how clientelist parties have used this critical need to exert control over society through different economic conditions. As such, it is crucial to understanding the political regimes of each country. Title formalization is a political process: the extent that this process is independently managed by the state bureaucracy for the benefit of citizens regardless of party affiliation or used for partisan ends to win elections is an indicator of the prevalence of informal practices detrimental to democracy. The case studies show, in Mexico, despite the ubiquity of clientelism, a massive program of state housing subsidies remained independent of partisan manipulation. In Turkey, its program of housing subsidies and title formalization were distributed on a partisan basis by a federal agency that was increasingly subsumed by a single party. A comparison shows how the state has become more independent from clientelism in Mexico while in Turkey the housing authority is enmeshed in the clientelist practices of the incumbent party. The case studies show that the independence of the state bureaucracy from clientelist party control is key to democratization.

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