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Promises, promises : vote-buying and the electoral mobilization strategies of non-credible politicians


  • Hanusch, Marek
  • Keefer, Philip


Vote-buying is pervasive, but not everywhere. What explains significant variations across countries in the greater use of pre-electoral transfers to mobilize voters relative to the use of pre-electoral promises of post-electoral transfers? This paper explicitly models the trade-offs that politicians incur when they decide between mobilizing support with vote-buying or promises of post-electoral benefits. Politicians rely more on vote-buying when they are less credible, target vote-buying to those who do not believe their political promises, and only buy votes from those who would have received post-electoral transfers in a world of full political credibility. The enforcement of a prohibition on vote-buying reduces the welfare of those targeted with vote-buying, but improves the welfare of all other groups in society.

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  • Hanusch, Marek & Keefer, Philip, 2013. "Promises, promises : vote-buying and the electoral mobilization strategies of non-credible politicians," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6653, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6653

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    6. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
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    8. Gehlbach, Scott & Keefer, Philip, 2011. "Investment without democracy: Ruling-party institutionalization and credible commitment in autocracies," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 123-139, June.
    9. Susanne Lohmann, 1998. "Rationalizing the Political Business Cycle: A Workhorse Model," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 1-17, March.
    10. Wan-wen Chu, 2007. "Taiwan," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Northeast and Southeast Asian Economies, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
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    Politics and Government; Civic Participation and Corporate Governance; Wages; Compensation&Benefits; Political Systems and Analysis; State Owned Enterprise Reform;

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