Vote Brokers, Clientelist Appeals, and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Russia and Venezuela

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Authors Timothy Frye, Ora John Reuter, David Szakonyi
Journal/Conference Name WORLD POLITICS
Paper Category
Paper Abstract There is a large literature on the causes of clientelism, but few studies examine its effectiveness in turning out the vote. We compare the relative effectiveness of various clientelist brokers — party activists, employers, and other intermediaries — as well as the effectiveness of different types of selective inducements. Using framing experiments and direct questions placed on surveys in Venezuela and Russia, we find that respondents are most likely to respond to turnout appeals from employers. Employers have significant levers of influence over employees, are able to monitor voter behavior, and are engaged in repeated interactions with voters. This makes them effective vote brokers. We also find that negative inducements (e.g. threats and intimidation) outperform positive inducements (e.g. gifts and rewards), and that threats made to collectives resonated more strongly than those made to individuals. These results suggest that the clientelism literature could benefit by paying more attention to employers, negative inducements, and threats against organizations.
Date of publication 2019
Code Programming Language R

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