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International development experts share their ideas on how wealthy countries can promote prosperity in developing countries. Follow at

Feb 23, 2011

In 1974, three out of four countries were ruled by authoritarian regimes; today, nearly half of all governments are democratically elected—and even more democracies may be emerging in the Middle East. But with elections come new form of patronage—such as offering benefits in exchange for votes—that can undermine the intent of democracy and effectiveness of programs intended to help the poor.  My guest this week, Simeon Nichter, a CGD post-doctoral fellow, is studying a phenomenon that has important implications for development but is often overlooked in optimistic accounts of democratic progress.

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