Groceries for Votes: The Electoral Returns of Vote Buying

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Authors Francisco Cantú
Journal/Conference Name THE JOURNAL OF POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Despite the prevalence of vote buying in many developing democracies, the evidence of its persuasive effects is very limited. This article proposes a way to evaluate the electoral impact of vote buying by using data from the 2012 presidential election in Mexico, where one of the parties distributed gift cards in exchange for support on election day. I evaluate the effect on citizens’ electoral behavior by considering voters’ proximity to the closest store where they could redeem the cards. The empirical analysis provides evidence of a persuasive effect of the gift cards, whose magnitude was positively related to precincts’ proximity to the store. The analysis also shows the local scope of this vote-buying incident on the electoral outcome, whose effect was focused on a defined group of voters. This study expands on recent theoretical accounts of parties’ targeting strategies and addresses some potential limitations in measuring the electoral consequences of vote buying.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R
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