Since 1974 the world has experienced a “third wave” of democratization. Ensuring that these new democracies consolidate is critical to both global prosperity and peace. Unfortunately, the academic literature that might help policy-makers shape appropriate foreign assistance programs remains underdeveloped, in that it lacks strong behavioral foundations, or explanations of why people act the way they do. This paper argues that the process of democratic consolidation requires a transition from clientelistic to contractual exchange relationships. Without that transition, efforts to promote democratic consolidation are unlikely to succeed.