Gherghina, S.  and Saikkonen, I. (2023) Partisanship and tolerance for clientelism: evidence from a conjoint experiment in Romania. Political Studies.

Studies on electoral clientelism are increasingly focusing on the demand side and explaining how voters react to electoral inducements. However, there is limited research about how candidate attributes and partisanship can determine citizens’ reactions to clientelism. This article therefore tests the relative weight that voters place on candidate attributes and partisanship in their reactions to clientelistic targeting in the context of a new democracy. We use evidence from an original conjoint experiment conducted in 2021 in Romania, where electoral clientelism is frequent. Our findings show that citizens react negatively to clientelistic inducements in general, but the effects vary based on the targeting strategy used by politicians. These negative effects are considerably weaker among co-partisans. This observation is especially relevant when testing the effect of partisanship in a political setting where it is low.