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Clientelism and vote buying: lessons from field experiments in African elections

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  • Pedro C. Vicente
  • Leonard Wantchekon

Abstract

Electoral clientelism and vote buying are widely perceived as major obstacles to economic development. This is because they may limit the provision of public goods. In this paper, we review the literature on clientelism and vote buying and propose the use of field experiments to evaluate empirically the consequences of these phenomena. We provide an overview, discuss implementation, and interpret the main results of recent field experiments conducted by the authors in West African countries. Clientelism and vote buying seem to be effective and to enjoy widespread electoral support. The results suggest that increased access to information and political participation by women may limit clientelism. In addition, voter education campaigns may undermine the effects of vote buying on voting behaviour. We argue that our findings may inform the design of development aid interventions, as a way effectively to increase public-good political accountability. We also discuss directions for fruitful future research. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 25 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
Pages: 292-305

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:25:y:2009:i:2:p:292-305

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Web page: http://oxrep.oupjournals.org/

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Cited by:
  1. Pellicer, Miquel & Wegner, Eva, 2013. "Electoral Rules and Clientelistic Parties: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 8(4), pages 339-371, October.
  2. Roxana Gutiérrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-16, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.
  3. Ahlerup, Pelle & Isaksson, Ann-Sofie, 2014. "Ethno-regional favouritism in Sub-Saharan Africa," Working Papers in Economics 586, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  4. Khemani, Stuti, 2013. "Buying votes vs. supplying public services : political incentives to under-invest in pro-poor policies," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6339, The World Bank.
  5. Andrés Cendales, 2012. "Vote Buying, Political Patronage and Selective Plunder," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 49(2), pages 237-276, November.
  6. Gianmarco León, 2013. "Turnout, political preferences and information: Experimental evidence from Perú," Economics Working Papers 1364, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  7. Ana Silvia de Matos Vas, 2012. "Interpersonal Influence Regarding the Decision to Vote Within Mozambican Households," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/2012-14, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Kent Eaton & Kai Kaiser & Paul J. Smoke, 2011. "The Political Economy of Decentralization Reforms : Implications for Aid Effectiveness," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2336, October.
  9. Gine, Xavier & Mansuri, Ghazala, 2011. "Together we will : experimental evidence on female voting behavior in Pakistan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5692, The World Bank.
  10. Roxana Gutierrez-Romero, 2012. "An Inquiry into the Use of Illegal Electoral Practices and Effects of Political Violence," Economics Series Working Papers WPF/2012-16, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  11. Ana Sílvia de Matos Vaz, 2012. "Interpersonal Influence Regarding the Decision to Vote Within Mozambican Households," CSAE Working Paper Series 2012-14, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

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