A paper entitiled "Clientelism as Persuasion-Buuying: Evidence from Latin America" which was co-authored by Andy Baker and Joby Schaffer has won the Seligson Prize from the Latin American Public Opinion Project. The Seligson Prize was founded to recognize excellence in Latin American scholarship, and was named in honor of Mitchell Seligson, the founder of LAPOP and a pioneer in the study of public opinion in Latin America.
Here is the paper's abstract:
In distributing clientelistic payoffs to citizens, the best strategy a party machine can pursue, we argue, is to target citizens who are opinion-leading epicenters in informal conversation networks. This persuasion-buying strategy carries the highest potential yield for the party because the payoff can create a social multiplier: The effect of the clientelistic gift can be magnified via the conversion of multiple voters within a payoff recipient’s personal networks. Using cross-sectional survey data from 22 Latin American countries and a panel survey from Mexico, we confirm that individuals who engage in frequent political persuasion and who are located in large political discussion networks are the most likely recipients of clientelistic payoffs. We also show that a finding that is key to previous theories, namely, that loyal partisans are the most likely targets of clientelism, is driven by omitted-variable and endogeneity bias.