Spring 5-4-2018

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Barr, Robert

Second Advisor

Singh, Ranjit

Department Chair or Program Director

Kramer, Jack

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration

Political Science

Department or Program

Political Science and International Affairs


This paper explains the resilience of clientelism in Argentina from 1989 to 1999, or the years of Carlos Menem’s presidency. Menem enacted sweeping neoliberal reforms, which leading theories predicted would extinguish clientelism. Nevertheless, it persisted throughout the decade. The paper first reconstructs the concept of clientelism, presenting a definition of the phenomenon. It then tests and finds support for two hypotheses to explain its resilience. The first, from the leading school of thought in the literature, predicts that the use of clientelism decreases with an increase in competition. I suggest a new hypothesis that Menem’s position relative to the Peronist party influences his decision to pursue the clientelist linkage. If he is in a dominant position, then he is likely to choose clientelism.