Why do governments tolerate the violation of their own laws and regulations? Conventional wisdom is that governments cannot enforce their laws. Forbearance as Redistribution challenges the standard interpretation by showing that politicians choose not to enforce laws to distribute resources and win elections. Alisha Holland demonstrates that this forbearance towards activities such as squatting and street vending is a powerful strategy for attracting the electoral support of poor voters. In many developing countries, state social programs are small or poorly targeted and thus do not offer politicians an effective means to mobilize the poor. In contrast, forbearance constitutes an informal welfare policy around which Holland argues much of urban politics turns. While forbearance offers social support to those failed by their governments, it also perpetuates the same exclusionary welfare policies from which it grows.
Alisha C. Holland is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Politics at Princeton University, New Jersey. She was a Junior Fellow at the Society of Fellows at Harvard University, Massachusetts. Holland's doctoral dissertation received the Best Dissertation Award from the Urban Politics Section of the American Political Science Association and the Robert Noxon Toppan Award for the best dissertation from the Department of Government at Harvard University. Her research on Latin American and urban politics has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Comparative Political Studies, and Latin American Research Review.
1. An electoral theory of forbearance; 2. Who votes for forbearance; 3. What enables forbearance: inadequate social policy and squatting; 4. When politicians choose forbearance: core constituencies and street vending; 5. Where forbearance occurs: the role of electoral institutions; 6; Why forbearance continues: path dependencies in the informal welfare state; 7. How forbearance ends: lessons from Turkey.