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Promises, promises : vote-buying and the electoral mobilization strategies of non-credible politicians

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  • Hanusch, Marek
  • Keefer, Philip

Abstract

Vote-buying is pervasive, but not everywhere. What explains significant variations across countries in the greater use of pre-electoral transfers to mobilize voters relative to the use of pre-electoral promises of post-electoral transfers? This paper explicitly models the trade-offs that politicians incur when they decide between mobilizing support with vote-buying or promises of post-electoral benefits. Politicians rely more on vote-buying when they are less credible, target vote-buying to those who do not believe their political promises, and only buy votes from those who would have received post-electoral transfers in a world of full political credibility. The enforcement of a prohibition on vote-buying reduces the welfare of those targeted with vote-buying, but improves the welfare of all other groups in society.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6653.

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Date of creation: 01 Oct 2013
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6653

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Keywords: Politics and Government; Civic Participation and Corporate Governance; Wages; Compensation&Benefits; Political Systems and Analysis; State Owned Enterprise Reform;

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  1. Shi, Min & Svensson, Jakob, 2006. "Political budget cycles: Do they differ across countries and why?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 90(8-9), pages 1367-1389, September.
  2. Gehlbach, Scott & Keefer, Philip, 2011. "Investment without democracy: Ruling-party institutionalization and credible commitment in autocracies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 123-139, June.
  3. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2007. "Why is Economic Policy Different in New Democracies? Affecting Attitudes About Democracy," NBER Working Papers 13457, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Adi Brender & Allan Drazen, 2004. "Political Budget Cycles in New versus Established Democracies," NBER Working Papers 10539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Alt, James E. & Lassen, David Dreyer, 2006. "Fiscal transparency, political parties, and debt in OECD countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 50(6), pages 1403-1439, August.
  6. Susanne Lohmann, 1998. "Rationalizing the Political Business Cycle: A Workhorse Model," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, 03.
  7. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
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