Clientelism is the mechanism through which political parties and candidates use public and private resources to cement their electoral support in society. It involves the exchange of various goods, targeted funds, or development projects for votes. While much research focused on how clientelism works and on its consequences, limited attention has been paid to understanding why clientelism emerges. 

This project aims to explain the variation of clientelism at county level in Romania.
This country is a representative case in Central and Eastern Europe, clientelism is used regularly by political parties, and the Romanian electorate remains open to electoral competitors. 

It argues and tests the potential effects of five explanations: party organization, electoral strategies, private donations, economic development and demand for clientelism.
It controls for incumbency, losing votes, and media use.
The analysis is conducted at county level and combines quantitative and qualitative methods.

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The project is funded by the Romanian Executive Agency for Higher Education, Research, Development and Innovation Funding (UEFISCDI) for the period 2020-2022, project number: PN-III-P1-1.1-TE-2019-0460.