Why Patronage Politics Cripples the Philippines
In the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, a recent paper by University of Michigan political scientists James Atkinson, Allen Hicken and Nico Ravanilla provides an insightful examination of politics in the Philippines specifically how it responds to the needs of people. It considers, for example, the typhoons that have historically passed and affected regions in the country.
Pork & Typhoons: The Political Economy of Disaster Assistance in the Philippines
- The amount of per capita reconstruction funds distributed to a given area is positively related to the extent of storm damage in that area.
- All else equal, areas controlled by political allies should receive more per capita reconstruction funds than other areas.
The same happens in Philippine basic education. Buildings for classrooms are constructed not because of a greater demonstrated need but through political patronage. If the mayor of a town is not in good terms with the governor, it is simply much more difficult to secure funding for school resources in the town from the office of the governor.
The Philippines being divided into so many islands and so many languages naturally give rise to clans or political clubs. And in times of disaster or great need, it is not what you know or what is known, it is who you know. Political patronage is really a formula that makes challenges catastrophic.