This paper counters the neo-Weberian argument that democratization can begin to undermine the patron-client relationships that impede economic development. The economic characteristics of developing countries make patron-client politics both rational for redistributive coalitions and effective as strategies for achieving the goals of powerful constituencies within these coalitions. These are unlikely to be affected by democratization and therefore, democratization is unlikely to accelerate economic development. The case for democratization therefore has to be made on other grounds.
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