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Vote-Buying and Growth

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Abstract

Vote-buying is widely used by parties in developing countries to influence the outcome of elections. We examine the impact of vote-buying on growth. We consider a model with a poverty trap where redistribution can promote growth. We show that vote-buying contributes to the persistence of poverty as taxed wealthy people buy votes from poor people. We then show that there exists a democratic constitution that breaks vote buying and promotes growth. Such a constitution involves rotating agenda setting, a taxpayer-protection rule and repeated voting. The latter rule makes vote buying prohibitively costly.

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Paper provided by CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich in its series CER-ETH Economics working paper series with number 08/94.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eth:wpswif:08-94

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Keywords: vote-buying; political economy; poverty traps; economic development; voting rules; repeated voting;

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  1. Azariadis, Costas, 1996. " The Economics of Poverty Traps: Part One: Complete Markets," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 449-96, December.
  2. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611, May.
  3. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Bolton, Patrick, 2003. "Incomplete Social Contracts," Scholarly Articles 4554123, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Barro, Robert J, 2000. " Inequality and Growth in a Panel of Countries," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 5-32, March.
  6. Dennis Mueller & Robert Tollison & Thomas Willett, 1972. "Representative democracy via random selection," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 57-68, March.
  7. Docquier, Frederic & Tarbalouti, Essaid, 2001. " Bribing Votes: A New Explanation to the "Inequality-Redistribution" Puzzle in LDCs," Public Choice, Springer, Springer, vol. 108(3-4), pages 259-72, September.
  8. Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2008. "Vote Buying: General Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 351-380, 04.
  9. Hans Gersbach, 2004. "Dividing resources by flexible majority rules," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 23(2), pages 295-308, October.
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