Deadly Populism: How Local Political Outsiders Drive Duterte’s War on Drugs in the Philippines

Nico Ravanilla, Renard Sexton, Dotan Haim

“Around the world, populists have won elections on the strength of crowd-pleasing, but norm-defying, policy proposals. […] Examining President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal “War on Drugs” in the Philippines, we find that mayors excluded from existing establishment patronage networks filled this critical implementation gap for the Duterte administration. […] Outsider-led municipalities had 40 percent more anti-drug incidents and 60 percent more extra-judicial killings by police. The results illustrate an important trade-off between patronage politics and corruption (politics-as-usual), and violent democratic backsliding.”