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Corruption scandals, voter information, and accountability

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  • Costas-Pérez, Elena
  • Solé-Ollé, Albert
  • Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar

Abstract

We study the effects of the availability of information about corruption scandals on electoral outcomes. The paper uses a novel and rich database with information on corruption scandals that affected Spanish local governments during the period 1996–2009. The database includes information about press coverage of each scandal and also about the intervention of the judiciary as published by the press. This allows us to analyze whether voters react to the amount of information (e.g., number of news) and to information regarding the seriousness of the case (e.g., judicial charges). We find that the incumbent's vote loss after a corruption scandal can rise to 14% when we consider cases in which the incumbent has been charged with corruption and press coverage has been extensive. However, we find no vote loss at all in cases dismissed or with reports to the courts which did not lead to further judicial intervention. The results suggest that information provided by the press modifies voters' beliefs regarding the prevalence of corrupt activities and helps them disentangle cases of founded vs. unfounded corruption.

Suggested Citation

  • Costas-Pérez, Elena & Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2012. "Corruption scandals, voter information, and accountability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 469-484.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:28:y:2012:i:4:p:469-484
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2012.05.007
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    Cited by:

    1. Kauder, Björn & Potrafke, Niklas, 2015. "Just hire your spouse! Evidence from a political scandal in Bavaria," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 42-54.
    2. Bhattacharyya, Sambit & Hodler, Roland, 2015. "Media freedom and democracy in the fight against corruption," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 13-24.
    3. Albert Solé-Ollé & Pilar Sorribas-Navarro, 2014. "Does Corruption Erode Trust in Government? Evidence from a Recent Surge of Local Scandals in Spain," CESifo Working Paper Series 4888, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Ali T. Akarca & Aysit Tansel, 2016. "Voter reaction to government incompetence and corruption related to the 1999 earthquakes in Turkey," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 43(2), pages 309-335, May.
    5. Elena Costas-Pérez, 2014. "Political corruption and voter turnout: mobilization or disaffection?," Working Papers 2014/27, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    6. Miguel Ángel Borrella Mas, 2015. "Partisan Alignment and Political Corruption. Theory and Evidence from Spain Job Market Paper," Working Papers. Serie AD 2015-07, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    7. Bernecker, Andreas, 2014. "Do politicians shirk when reelection is certain? Evidence from the German parliament," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 55-70.
    8. repec:eee:jpolmo:v:39:y:2017:i:5:p:790-808 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Niklas Potrafke & Felix Rösel, 2016. "A Banana Republic? Trust in Electoral Institutions in Western Democracies - Evidence from a Presidential Election in Austria," CESifo Working Paper Series 6254, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Vetter, Stefan, 2013. "Delegating decision rights for anticipated rewards as an alternative to corruption: An experiment," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 188-204.
    11. Artés, Joaquín, 2014. "The rain in Spain: Turnout and partisan voting in Spanish elections," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 126-141.
    12. Larcinese, Valentino & Sircar, Indraneel, 2017. "Crime and punishment the British way: Accountability channels following the MPs’ expenses scandal," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 75-99.
    13. Albert Solé-Ollé & Elisabet Viladecans-Marsal, 2013. "The Influence Wielded by Land Developer Lobbies During the Housing Boom: Recent Evidence From Spain," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(2), pages 43-49, 07.
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    16. Gratton, Gabriele, 2015. "The sound of silence: Political accountability and libel law," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 266-279.
    17. Balaguer-Coll, Maria Teresa & Brun-Martos, María Isabel & Forte, Anabel & Tortosa-Ausina, Emili, 2015. "Local governments' re-election and its determinants: New evidence based on a Bayesian approach," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 94-108.
    18. Framcisco Cavalcanti & Gianmarco Daniele & Sergio Galletta, 2016. "Popularity shocks and political selection : the effects of anti-corruption audits on candidates' quality," IdEP Economic Papers 1607, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Voting; Accountability; Corruption;

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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