Map of clientelism Funds allocations to counties and municipalities, 2004-2011

The report shows which governments, in which periods and with what instruments behave in a clientelistic manner: we have built a clientelism index that correlates allocated sums with the party affiliation of the mayors.

We have included on the map 41 county councils and municipalities. Zoom in and click one of the marks in order to see how much has been received in eight years (2004-2011) from the six main sources of national funds for investment:

  1. The Government’s Reserve Fund (2004-2011, multiple use)
  2. Deducted funds for county and communal roads (2005-2011)
  3. Environment Fund (water-sewers, green spaces, 2008-2011)
  4. Funds for schools (2007-2010)
  5. Government Decision 577/1997 (roads, water in the rural areas, 2004-2011)
  6. Government Ordinance 7/2006 (bridges, water-sewage, sports fields in the rural areas , 2007-2011)

These sums represented in 2008 (peak year) about 70% of the local investments, meaning the significant part - the rest are EU funds. Apart from the latter, where there are more strict selection rules and an external auditor (the Commission), these six instruments are 100% national and discretionary, the sums are allocated by the government or the entitled ministries as a annex to the budget, without any clear justification or call for projects. In other words, they represent the best terrain for the measurement of political clientelism.

On the EU projects, despite the anecdotic evidence, such analysis on complete data is still much less relevant due to the existing filters. Moreover, the value of the EU funding is smaller compared to the national sources, although we tend to speak about the first ones all the time and about the latter almost never.

EFOR prezinta in premiera distributia fondurilor bugetare nationale discretionare;
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indice clientelism politic
Clientelism index
Sums for mayors in power/ sums for mayors in opposition

By short:

  • Romania had a maximum of political clientelism between 2007 and 2008, for almost all instruments of transfers for existing investments. By average, in 2007 it was three times more probable to get funds if you were a mayor of the power than if you were in opposition
  • The top of the clientelism coincided with the period of fast growth of public budgets before the crisis
  • The most favored mayors had been the theoretically independent ones (a result that can be found in the analysis for Republic of Moldova) that suggests that the discretionary allocations have been intentionally used in order to encourage the political migration

Some myths and scandals have been built around the discretionary allocation of governmental funds to the local administration. It has been said that some or others have been favored; those before had a clientelistic behavior and the current government just tries to fix past injustice; opposition county barons abuse the mayors in power and so on. There is just one way to find out the truth: to publicize the complete data for a longer period of time and to build an index that would quantify the intensity of the political clientelism for various periods.


For each politically relevant period (meaning inter elections interval or the significant change of composition of the political power), we have calculated the clientelism index.

This shows with how much was more probable to receive funds for investments if you were a mayor that belonged to the party in power than if you were in opposition. The calculation is based on the normalized report of the received sums by the mayors in power / sums received by mayors in opposition.

Between 2004 and 2011, the clientelism index has varied as shown in the annexed chart.


  • When figures will be available, after April, we will include in the current analysis the allocations for 2012
  • Do not confuse the six types of analyzed transfers with (a) own revenues of the local administrations; they have nothing to do with clientelism; (b) other transfers or shared tax rates that reach the city halls through the financing formula or for various current expenses; here is possible to have some politically motivated distortions, but of a much smaller scale than in investment sums we have analyzed, because it is about financing some mandatory social expenses or social grants.

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