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Vote Buying

Author

Listed:
  • Eddie Dekel
  • Matthew O. Jackson
  • Asher Wolinsky

Abstract

We examine the consequences of vote buying, assuming this practice were allowed and free of stigma. Two parties competing in a binary election may purchase votes in a sequential bidding game via up-front binding payments and/or campaign promises (platforms) that are contingent upon the outcome of the election. We analyze the role of the parties’ budget constraints and voter preferences. For instance, if only campaign promises are allowed, then the winning party depends not only on the relative size of the budgets, but also on the excess support of the party with the a priori majority, where the excess support is measured in terms of the (minimal) total utility of supporting voters who are in excess of the majority needed to win. If up front vote buying is permitted, and voters care directly about how they vote (as a legislator would), then the determination of the winning party depends on a weighted comparison of the two parties’ budgets plus half of the total utility of their supporting voters. These results suggest that vote buying can lead to an inefficient party winning in equilibrium. We find that under some circumstances, if parties budgets are raised through donations, then vote buying can be efficient. Finally, we provide some results on vote buying in the face of uncertainty.

Suggested Citation

  • Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2004. "Vote Buying," Discussion Papers 1386, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  • Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1386
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    File URL: http://www.kellogg.northwestern.edu/research/math/papers/1386.pdf
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    Other versions of this item:

    • Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2005. "Vote Buying," Others 0503006, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    • Jackson, Matthew O. & Dekel, Eddie & Wolinsky, Asher, 2005. "Vote buying," Working Papers 1215, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Land and Power: Theory and Evidence from Chile," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1737-1765, December.
    2. Casella, Alessandra & Turban, Sébastien, 2014. "Democracy undone. Systematic minority advantage in competitive vote markets," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 47-70.
    3. Pohan Fong, 2008. "Endogenous Limits on Proposal Power," Discussion Papers 1465, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    4. Alessandra Casella & Aniol Llorente-Saguer & Thomas R. Palfrey, 2012. "Competitive Equilibrium in Markets for Votes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(4), pages 593-658.
    5. Frederico Finan & Laura Schechter, 2012. "Vote‐Buying and Reciprocity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 863-881, March.
    6. John Morgan & Felix Várdy, 2011. "On the buyability of voting bodies," Journal of Theoretical Politics, , vol. 23(2), pages 260-287, April.
    7. Herrera, Helios & Levine, David K. & Martinelli, César, 2008. "Policy platforms, campaign spending and voter participation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 501-513, April.
    8. Carbonell-Nicolau Oriol, 2009. "A Positive Theory of Income Taxation," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-49, July.
    9. Sergiu Hart, 2008. "Discrete Colonel Blotto and General Lotto games," International Journal of Game Theory, Springer;Game Theory Society, vol. 36(3), pages 441-460, March.
    10. Crutzen, Benoît S.Y. & Sahuguet, Nicolas, 2009. "Redistributive politics with distortionary taxation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 264-279, January.
    11. Casamatta, Georges & Vellutini, Charles, 2008. "Clientelism and aid," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 322-332, October.
    12. Mr. Felix J Vardy & Mr. John Morgan, 2006. "Corruption, Competition, and Contracts: A Model of Vote Buying," IMF Working Papers 2006/011, International Monetary Fund.
    13. Daniel Diermeier & Georgy Egorov & Konstantin Sonin, 2013. "Endogenous Property Rights," NBER Working Papers 19734, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Dekel, Eddie & Jackson, Matthew O. & Wolinsky, Asher, 2009. "Vote Buying: Legislatures and Lobbying," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 4(2), pages 103-128, July.
    15. Helios Herrera & Andrea Mattozzi, 2006. "Turnout and Quorum in Referenda," Levine's Bibliography 321307000000000230, UCLA Department of Economics.
    16. Ascensión Andina-Díaz & Miguel Meléndez-Jiménez, 2009. "Voting in small networks with cross-pressure," Spanish Economic Review, Springer;Spanish Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 99-124, June.
    17. Henry, Emeric, 2008. "The informational role of supermajorities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2225-2239, October.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    vote buying; political economy; campaign promises.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism
    • C72 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Noncooperative Games

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