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.
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.