códigos y prácticas clientelares

English translation: (certain) cronyism, with its codes and practices

14:19 Aug 8, 2018
Spanish to English translations [PRO]
Social Sciences - Government / Politics / institutional frameworks for development programs
Spanish term or phrase: códigos y prácticas clientelares
En lo que respecta específicamente a las reglas o instituciones informales, se pone el foco en aquellas prácticas y normas que se encuentran instauradas en los actores y que definen cómo se actúa. Para el caso de América Latina, resulta relevante considerar, por ejemplo, ciertos códigos y prácticas clientelares, de corrupción y compadrazgo entre actores, que interfieran en las reglas formales, y pueden jugar un rol determinante en la efectividad de la acción pública
English translation:(certain) cronyism, with its codes and practices
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Ana Vozone
Local time: 12:38
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thank you
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Summary of answers provided
3 +1(certain) cronyism, with its codes and practices
Ana Vozone
4clientelist/clientelistic codes and practices
Robert Carter
3codes and practices of patronage

Discussion entries: 1



7 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
(certain) cronyism, with its codes and practices


Ana Vozone
Local time: 12:38
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese
PRO pts in category: 24
Grading comment
thank you

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
neutral  AllegroTrans: I would like to see some evidence that the term is as strong as "cronyism" (fairly well defined by Robert in his comment below)
13 mins
  -> Pls see my comment to Robert. I hope it clarifies (for you) my choice of this term.

agree  neilmac: IMHO, "corrupción y compadrazgo entre actores, que interfieran en las reglas formales" pretty much defines "cronyism"...
44 mins
  -> Thank you, Neil!

agree  Muriel Vasconcellos
5 hrs
  -> Thank you, Muriel!

disagree  Robert Carter: My understanding is that "cronyism" means "the appointment of friends and associates to positions of authority, without proper regard to their qualifications," (Oxford Dict.), whereas "clientelismo" is quite a different matter, involving masses.
8 hrs
  -> In this particular case, the expression "códigos y prácticas clientelares" is clearly linked to "corrupción y compadrazgo", and therefofore I think that "cronyism" is correct in this context.
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
clientelist/clientelistic codes and practices

I think I'd be inclined to use "cronyism" for "compadrazgo". If you don't like "codes", you could use "systems" instead.

Clientelism is the exchange of goods and services for political support, often involving an implicit or explicit quid-pro-quo.[1] Clientelism involves an asymmetric relationship between groups of political actors described as patrons, brokers, and clients.
Numerous factors which lead to a clientelist political system have been identified. One large one is poverty. As the wealth of the average citizen increases, patrons must spend greater and greater sums of money to gain their votes. Therefore, clientelist strategies are most effective in societies with a prevalence of poverty, when the cost of giving constituents gifts is low.


Clientelism is a common practice in developing countries, and often has detrimental effects for public good provision and political accountability. We study the determinants of clientelism by focusing on a federal land titling program in urban Mexico that reached nearly 2.16 million households over 35 years. We find that municipal incum- bents, who are particularly well positioned to enforce clientelistic exchanges, are most affected by the distribution of property rights on land

Note added at 8 hrs (2018-08-08 22:36:52 GMT)

The terms "patronage" and "clientelism", while closely related, do have slightly different meanings, from what I can tell. The following entry from the Oxford Handbook of Political Science shows a distinction made by certain authors:

Having explored definitions of clientelism (and offered my own), I now do the same for the related concepts of patronage and vote buying. In my usage, patronage and vote buying are subclasses of clientelism. Whereas clientelism involves the dyad’s inferior member giving electoral support broadly construed, including her own vote and efforts to secure for the patron the votes of others, vote buying is a more narrow exchange of goods (benefits, protections) for one’s own vote. In contrast, again, to pork and programmatic redistribution, the criterion for selecting vote sellers is: did you (will you) vote for me?

Patronage, in turn, is the proffering of public resources (most typically, public employment) by office holders in return for electoral support, where the criterion of distribution is again the clientelist one: did you—will you—vote for me? Hence patronage is distinct from the broader category of clientelism. In clientelism, the more powerful political actor may or may not hold public office, and therefore may or may not (p. 651) be able to credibly promise to secure public resources (as opposed to, say, party resources) for the client. In patronage, the patron holds public office and distributes state resources. This definition concurs with those of others, such as Mainwaring, who defines patronage as “the use or distribution of state resources on a nonmeritocratic basis for political gain” (1999, 177). The clientelism–patronage distinction corresponds to Medina and Stokes’s (2007) one between economic monopoly over goods which the patron controls independent of the outcome of an election, and political monopoly over goods that he controls only if he retains office.


Robert Carter
Local time: 06:38
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1 hr   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5
codes and practices of patronage

One of the 5 definitions in Merriam-Webster reads:

5 a : the power to make appointments to government jobs especially for political advantage

oust his enemies from office and use the patronage to support his policies —H. K. Beale

b : the distribution of jobs on the basis of patronage

The governor filled the vacated positions through patronage.

c : jobs distributed by patronage

the government's vast network of patronage

Whilst this might well amount to cronyism I don't think the source term has quite that connotation.

Note added at 2 days 3 hrs (2018-08-10 17:45:50 GMT)

Cronyism - Wikipedia

Cronyism. Cronyism is the practice of partiality in awarding jobs and other advantages to friends, family relatives or trusted colleagues, especially in politics and between politicians and supportive organizations.
‎Concept · ‎References
Patronage - Wikipedia

Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings, popes, and the wealthy have provided to artists such as musicians, painters, and sculptors.
Favoritism, Cronyism, and Nepotism - Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

23 Oct 2015 - A related idea is patronage, giving public service jobs to those who may have helped elect the person who has the power of appointment. Favoritism has always been a complaint in government service. ... Both nepotism and cronyism are often at work when political parties recruit candidates for public office.

United Kingdom
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