An increasingly large literature on patronage has developed within political science in recent years. Yet this body of scholarship has thus far failed to explain variation in patronage allocation across countries. An original theory based on the logic of institutional choice, whereby political leaders allocate patronage in accordance with the varying political threats they face, explains this variation. Two variables—geography and visibility—capture this variation and thus explain patronage allocation. The theory is tested and validated through a comparative analysis of Rwanda and Uganda, whose current regimes are remarkably similar in origin and structure. The analysis extends to previous regimes in both countries
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