Vote Buying and Reciprocity

That’s the title of a new working paper by Fred Finan and Laura Schechter:

While vote-buying is common, little is known about how politicians determine who to target. We argue that vote-buying can be sustained by an internalized norm of reciprocity. Receiving money engenders feelings of obligation. Combining survey data on vote-buying with an experiment-based measure of reciprocity, we show that politicians target reciprocal individuals. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of social preferences in determining political behavior.

This also reminded me of a presentation by Jeff Conroy-Krutz at last spring’s meeting of the Midwest Group on African Political Economy.

Jeff’s presentation was just the basis of a broader research project in which he is going to look at both the supply and demand of votes in an African context, but I think this type of big-think, “industrial organization” approach to vote buying is extremely interesting and could generate a number of hypotheses to be further tested with experimental data like Finan and Schechter’s.


No related content found.