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On the Buyability of Voting Bodies

  • Felix J. J. Vardy
  • John Morgan

We study vote buying by competing interest groups in a variety of electoral and contractual settings. While increasing the size of a voting body reduces its buyability in the absence of competition, we show that larger voting bodies may be more buyable than smaller voting bodies when interest groups compete. In contrast, imposing the secret ballot---which we model as forcing interest groups to contract on outcomes rather than votes---is an effective way to fight vote buying in the presence of competition, but much less so in its absence. We also study more sophisticated vote buying contracts. We show that, regardless of competition, the option to contract on both votes and outcomes is worthless, as it does not affect buyability as compared to contracting only on votes. In contrast, when interest groups can contract on votes and vote shares, we show that voting bodies are uniquely at risk of being bought.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 07/165.

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Length: 32
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:07/165
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  1. Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2005. "Vote Buying," Others 0503006, EconWPA.
    • Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2004. "Vote Buying," Discussion Papers 1386, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    • Jackson, Matthew O. & Dekel, Eddie & Wolinsky, Asher, 2005. "Vote buying," Working Papers 1215, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
  3. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1998. "Competing for Endorsements," Papers 09-98, Tel Aviv.
  4. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini & Francesco Trebbi, . "Electoral Rules and Corruption," Working Papers 182, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  5. Gene Grossman & Elhanan Helpman, 1994. "Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics," NBER Working Papers 4877, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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