Looking Beyond the Incumbent: The Effects of Exposing Corruption on Electoral Outcomes
AbstractDoes information about rampant political corruption increase electoral participation and the support for challenger parties? Democratic theory assumes that offering more information to voters will enhance electoral accountability. However, if there is consistent evidence suggesting that voters punish corrupt incumbents, it is unclear whether this translates into increased support for challengers and higher political participation. We provide experimental evidence that information about copious corruption not only decreases incumbent support in local elections in Mexico, but also decreases voter turnout, challengers' votes, and erodes voters' identification with the party of the corrupt incumbent. Our results suggest that while flows of information are necessary, they may be insufficient to improve political accountability, since voters may respond to information by withdrawing from the political process. We conclude with a discussion of the institutional contexts that could allow increased access to information to promote government accountability.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8790.
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Alberto Chong & Ana L. De La O & Dean Karlan & Leonard Wantchekon, 2011. "Looking Beyond the Incumbent: The Effects of Exposing Corruption on Electoral Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 17679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Chong, Alberto & De La O Torres, Ana L. & Karlan, Dean & Wantchekon, Leonard, 2012. "Looking beyond the Incumbent: The Effects of Exposing Corruption on Electoral Outcomes," Working Papers 94, Yale University, Department of Economics.
- Alberto Chong & Ana L. De La O & Dean Karlan & Leonard Wantchekon, 2012. "Looking Beyond the Incumbent: The Effects of Exposing Corruption on Electoral Outcomes," Working Papers 1005, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D73 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Bureaucracy; Administrative Processes in Public Organizations; Corruption
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-03-28 (All new papers)
- NEP-CDM-2012-03-28 (Collective Decision-Making)
- NEP-POL-2012-03-28 (Positive Political Economics)
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