How Patrons Select Brokers: Efficacy and Loyalty in Indian Cities

Tariq Thachil, Associate Professor, Vanderbilt University. This lecture is hosted by the Department of Political Science and COSAS.

Scholars of urban politics in India have yet to systematically understand how party leaders select the rank-and-file ‘brokers’, ‘fixers’, or intermediaries that connect them to their local constituencies. We study how these choices are made through in-depth fieldwork in two mid-sized Indian cities: Jaipur and Bhopal. We focus on how local party leaders incorporate brokers who connect them to vote-rich slum settlements. We draw on qualitative fieldwork to argue that local leaders must balance two key concerns: a broker’s efficacy among slum residents and their loyalty to party and the leader. We then test the relative importance of these concerns through a survey-based choice experiment conducted with 343 ward-level political leaders. We verify our findings with unique data on the actual promotion patterns for 629 slum leaders in Jaipur and Bhopal.

Dates: 
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 12:00pm
Foster 107