Electoral Underpinnings of Oligarchy: A Survey Experiment in South Africa

Mogens K. Justesen, Stanislav Markus

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearch


Why do voters – including the poor – elect super-rich business candidates into power? In the age of anti-elite political populism, the support of tycoons by people in countries as diverse as the United States, Benin, and Ukraine suggests a puzzle. To address this puzzle, we marshal evidence from a survey experiment in South Africa, a country where wealthy business people are heavily engaged in politics. Theoretically, we extend the literatures on inequality and voting behavior by testing a number of competing explanations for the voter support of "tycoon candidates." Relative to voter appeals based on competence signaling, name recognition, and framing, it is the clientelistic appeals which benefit tycoon candidates the most. We suggest extensions to the literature on clientelism based on these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Publication dateAug 2018
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
EventAmerican Political Science Association, APSA Annual Meeting 2018: Democracy and its Discontents - Boston, United States
Duration: 30 Aug 20182 Sep 2018
Conference number: 114


ConferenceAmerican Political Science Association, APSA Annual Meeting 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
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