Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term neo-patrimonialism refers to a hybrid mode of rule in which informal political ties and exchanges suffuse the management of a state. In a neo-patrimonial regime, the political chief executive and his agents exercise authority mainly through personal whim and material incentive rather than through ideology or the rule of law. Within the state, the distinction between private and public interests is purposely blurred, and officials occupy bureaucratic posts less to deliver public goods and services than to acquire personal wealth and status. While elements of such self-serving practice can be found under various political regimes, neo-patrimonial rule is a defining characteristic of personal autocracies in the world's most underdeveloped states. As with other building blocks of social science, the concept's origins lie in the ideas of great German sociologist Max Weber. In his opus Economy and Society , Weber sought to understand how political leaders justify the exercise ...