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University of Michigan Press
The following review appeared in the April 2023 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email email@example.com.
Social & Behavioral Sciences
Political Science - Comparative Politics
Palmer-Rubin (Marquette Univ.) explains representational inequality in Mexico through an analysis of the subnational organizations that represent small-business owners, small-scale farmers, and political parties. He convincingly argues that the mode in which an organization generates internal/external organizational capacity is an important determinant of the types of policy demands that it levies on the state. He asserts that class matters in representation. Patronage-based models of representation are more prevalent among the poor and are the root cause of biased pluralism and structural inequalities. Palmer-Rubin conducted more than 100 interviews with organizational leaders and bureaucrats and used datasets from chambers of commerce, industries, and the government. He masterfully combines quantitative data and qualitative observations to evaluate an organization's degree of programmatic and patronage representation. The volume concludes with recommendations for how organizations and parties can avoid the "patronage trap": a vicious cycle yielding state benefits but precluding programmatic representation. This work is a major contribution to the study of inequality in Mexican and Latin American politics.--I. Coronado, Arizona State University