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Corruption and Voter Turnout: A Spatial Econometric Approach

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  • 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:

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    4. Francesc Amat & Pablo Beramendi & Miriam Hortas-Rico & Vicente Rios, 2020. "How inequality shapes political participation: The role of spatial patterns of political competition," Working Papers. Collection B: Regional and sectoral economics 2002, Universidade de Vigo, GEN - Governance and Economics research Network.

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