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date: 15 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

How do social networks influence and moderate electoral persuasion in developing countries? An extensive literature shows that social networks are important for understanding electoral persuasion in established democracies. At the same time, these theories might not necessarily apply to democracies in the developing world, particularly when they are characterized by clientelism, coercion, and other modes of political engagement outside of formal democratic institutions. In such contexts, networks can matter for politics in different, and sometimes unexpected, ways. In surveying the literature, this chapter dentifies three general functions of networks that are important for understanding electoral persuasion behavior in developing countries: (i) information diffusion; (ii) social persuasion; and (iii) coordination and enforcement. The chapter explores the implications of these network mechanisms by exploring the roles of both voter and politician networks.

Keywords: social networks, developing countries, persuasion, information diffusion, coordination

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