Generally, patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege and often financial aid given by a person or an organization. It can also refer to the business given by a regular customer, and the guardianship of saints.
In some countries the term is often used to describe the corrupt use of state money and goods to benefit groups, families, ethnicities or races in exchange for votes. These patronage systems are different depending on the area in which they are practiced.
Patronage Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.