Request Inspection Copy

If you are an Academic or Teacher and wish to consider this book as a prescribed textbook for your course, you may be eligible for a complimentary inspection copy. Please complete this form, including information about your position, campus and course, before adding to cart.

* Required Fields

To complete your Inspection Copy Request you will need to click the Checkout button in the right margin and complete the checkout formalities. You can include Inspection Copies and purchased items in the same shopping cart, see our Inspection Copy terms for further information.

Any Questions? Please email our text Support Team on


Email this to a friend

* ALL required Fields

Order Inspection Copy

An inspection copy has been added to your shopping cart

Democracy for Sale: Elections, Clientelism, and the State in Indonesia

by Edward Aspinall and Ward Berenschot Cornell University Press
Pub Date:
Pbk 330 pages
AU$66.00 NZ$68.70
Product Status: In Stock Now
add to your cart

Other Available Formats:

Democracy for Sale is an on-the-ground account of Indonesian democracy, analyzing its election campaigns and behind-the-scenes machinations. Edward Aspinall and Ward Berenschot assess the informal networks and political strategies that shape access to power and privilege in the messy political environment of contemporary Indonesia.


In post-Suharto Indonesian politics the exchange of patronage for political support is commonplace. Clientelism, argue the authors, saturates the political system, and in Democracy for Sale they reveal the everyday practices of vote buying, influence peddling, manipulating government programs, and skimming money from government projects. In doing so, Aspinall and Berenschot advance three major arguments. The first argument points toward the role of religion, kinship, and other identities in Indonesian clientelism. The second explains how and why Indonesia's distinctive system of free-wheeling clientelism came into being. And the third argument addresses variation in the patterns and intensity of clientelism. Through these arguments and with comparative leverage from political practices in India and Argentina, Democracy for Sale provides compelling evidence of the importance of informal networks and relationships rather than formal parties and institutions in contemporary Indonesia.


List of Tables and Figures



1. Indonesia's Patronage Democracy

2. Capturing Varieties of Clientelism


3. Historical Origins of Free-Wheeling Clientelism

4. Electoral Institutions, Political Parties and Candidates


5. Success Teams and Vote Buying

6. Social Networks and Club Goods


7. Governance and Public Spending

8. Bureaucrats and the Power of Office


9. Campaign Financing, Business and the Public Sphere

10. Explaining Variation in Indonesia's Patronage Democracy

Conclusion: Clientelism and the Search for Good Governance





"Democracy for Sale promises to be a major contribution to Indonesian politics, and also a book that will be read, discussed, and cited by authors working cross-nationally."

- Tom Pepinsky, Cornell University, and author of Economic Crises and the Breakdown of Authoritarian Regimes

"Democracy for Sale is an outstanding book with a compelling mix of methodologies that will be useful for scientists interested in clientelism in general."

- Andreas Ufen, German Institute of Global and Area Studies, and coeditor of Democratization in Post-Suharto Indonesia and Party Politics in Southeast Asia

"Democracy for Sale combines rich details about the variety and variability of clientelism in Indonesia with a framework for comparing and analyzing clientelism across a variety of country contexts. This is a volume all scholars of clientelism, patronage, and money politics will want on their shelf."

- Allen Hicken, University of Michigan
Edward Aspinall is Professor of Politics at the Australian National University. He is the author of several books, among them Opposing Suharto and Islam and Nation, and the coedited volume Electoral Dynamics in Indonesia.


Ward Berenschot is a researcher at KITLV Leiden and the author of Riot Politics and the co-edited volume In Search of Middle Indonesia.