Clientelism by Committee: The Effect of Legislator–Constituent Relationships on Legislative Organization

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In this paper, we analyze how legislator–voter relationships influence legislative organization. We argue that legislators who engage in clientelistic practices to gain votes will create much larger committee systems, with more committees, than legislators who engage in more programmatic practices. We test these arguments using an original dataset on the number of committees in the lower chambers of seventy-seven democracies throughout the world. Our analysis demonstrates that the number of committees is higher in legislatures with clientelistic practices than in legislatures with programmatic practices. The results provide a new understanding of how legislator–voter relationships influence legislative organization and lay the groundwork for a series of studies that examine how the clientelism-programmatic spectrum influences legislative organization.