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Corruption and Voter Turnout: A Spatial Econometric Approach

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Listed:
  • Lacombe, Donald J.
  • Coats, R. Morris
  • Shughart II, William F.
  • Karahan, Gökhan

Abstract

An FBI sting investigation, from 1984 through 1987, called “Operation Pretense” exposed extensive corruption amongst Mississippi’s county supervisors. In response, Mississippi’s legislature asked voters in the November 1988 general election to choose between the then - prevalent “beat system” of county governance and a more centralized “unit system” thought to be less corruption - prone. Voters opted for the unit system in 47 of Mississippi’s 82 counties. We use spatial econometric techniques to examine voter turnout rates in that election. We compare spatial econometric and ordinary least squares models : both reveal that, ceteris paribus , revelations of supervisor corruption influenced voter turnout rates positively at the county level. However, we find no relationship between corruption and voters’ beat - unit choices using spatial econometric techniques — suggesting that voters did not go to the polls to punish corrupt politicians, but were motivated by candidates’ and parties’ greater electioneering efforts to gain access to or to protect corruption rents.

Suggested Citation

  • Lacombe, Donald J. & Coats, R. Morris & Shughart II, William F. & Karahan, Gökhan, 2016. "Corruption and Voter Turnout: A Spatial Econometric Approach," Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy, Mid-Continent Regional Science Association, vol. 46(2), December.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:jrapmc:262579
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.262579
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Roesel, 2019. "A banana republic? The effects of inconsistencies in the counting of votes on voting behavior," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 178(1), pages 231-265, January.
    2. Richard J. Cebula & Gigi M. Alexander, 2017. "Female Labor Force Participation and Voter Turnout: Evidence from the American Presidential Elections," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 8(2).
    3. Paulo Arvate & Sergio Mittlaender, 2017. "Condemning corruption while condoning inefficiency: an experimental investigation into voting behavior," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 172(3), pages 399-419, September.

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