Illustrated with a wealth of observations from all over Indonesia, Democracy for Sale highlights how Indonesian clientelism is distinctively free-wheeling when compared to other countries. Clientelism typically centers on political parties; in Indonesia politicians rely on ad-hoc, candidate-centered structures called “success teams.”Bureaucrats rather than parties control state resources and are key actors in election campaigns. Employing an innovative framework for comparing clientelistic polities, Democracy for Sale argues we should see informal politics not as a deviation but as a constituent element of state power.
Edward Aspinall is a Professor in the Department of Political and Social Change, Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs, Australian National University. He researches politics in Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia, with interests in democratisation, ethnicity, and clientelism, among other topics. Read more.
Ward Berenschot is a postdoc at KITLV researching local democracy, clientelism and identity politics in India and Indonesia. His Veni research project ‘Shades of clientelism: A comparative study of Indonesia’s patronage democracy’ compares clientelistic practices throughout Indonesia. Read more.
The Expert Survey Election Campaigns in Indonesia is a dataset consisting of assessments of characteristics of election campaigns in 38 districts across Indonesia, given by 509 local observers (academics, journalists, campaign organizers, NGO activists). The aim of the expert survey is to study regional variation in the character of politics with a particular focus on assessing the character and pervasiveness of clientelistic electoral strategies. The survey contains questions on clientelistic practices (such as vote buying, as well the degree to which the distribution of various state resources – public services, welfare, contracts, jobs, licenses, social assistance – are perceived to be contingent on electoral support) as well as campaign organization (role of political parties, perceived influence of types of organizations and leaders, role of bureaucrats) and voter behavior (effectiveness of programmatic and clientelistic vote mobilization, ethnicity). The questions in the survey concern election campaigns for district head elections, governor, local parliaments as well presidential elections. This expert survey was executed among 509 academics, journalists, NGO activists and campaign organisers from 38 districts in 16 provinces across Indonesia between April and July 2014. The survey material was used in Aspinall and Berenschot, Democracy for Sale: Elections, Clientelism and the State in Indonesia (Ithaca: Cornell University Press 2018).
Link to dataset: https://doi.org/10.17026/dans-xm4-exy3