Electoral Rules and Corruption
Is corruption systematically related to electoral rules? Recent theoretical work suggests a positive answer. But little is known about the data. We try to address this lacuna by relating corruption to different features of the electoral system in a sample of about eighty democ-racies in the 1990s. We exploit the cross-country variation in the data, as well as the time variation arising from recent episodes of electoral reform. The evidence is consistent with the theoretical priors. Larger voting districts-and thus lower barriers to entry-are associated with less corruption, whereas larger shares of candidates elected from party lists-and thus less individual accountability-are associated with more corruption. Individual accountability appears to be most strongly tied to personal ballots in plurality-rule elections, even though open party lists also seem to have some effect. Because different aspects roughly offset each other, a switch from strictly proportional to strictly majoritarian elections only has a small negative effect on corruption. (JEL: E62, H3) Copyright (c) 2003 The European Economic Association.
Volume (Year): 1 (2003)
Issue (Month): 4 (06)
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