Connecting the Nodes. How Social Capital Enhances Local Public Goods' Provision in Shantytowns.

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2017

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Abstract

The literature on clientelism has extensively covered the direct exchange of private goods for political support between voters and politicians. Yet, patronage does not end with the distribution of food, medicine or public employment. In poor informal settlements, access to a sanitation system or clean drinking water is often mediated by local politicians.Therefore, the interaction between slum politics and the provision of Local Public Goods (LPG) is quite relevant and requires further study.

This dissertation explains the variation in infrastructure and public services in shantytowns as a function of social capital. Well-connected communities --with stronger ties among its members-- solve collective action problems, improving slum dwellers' quality of life. The linking mechanism between social capital and LPG is electoral coordination (bloc-voting). Neighbors agree for a common electoral strategy at the slum-level, which translates into an effective mechanism to demand for improvements in their locality (``good-type partisan homogeneity'').

Alternatively, isolation among slum dwellers deteriorate their access to and quality of LPG. Under the absence of social capital, when slum-level electoral behavior appears to be homogenous, it is likely signaling political clientelism and not community-led coordination. Ultimately the ``bad-type partisan homogeneity'' represents the inability of slum dwellers to enforce electoral accountability and sanction unresponsive governments. I test my hypotheses with survey data from Udaipur (India) and eight provinces in Argentina.

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Rojo, Guadalupe (2017). Connecting the Nodes. How Social Capital Enhances Local Public Goods' Provision in Shantytowns. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/16270.

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