A Note on Optimal Vote and Turnout Buying
Posted: 19 Jul 2010 Last revised: 9 Sep 2013
Date Written: 2010
In this paper, we model a patron-client relationship where the incumbent may either persuade or mobilize voters; that is, he can pay citizens to vote for him - vote buying - or he can pay citizens to show up to vote - turnout buying - respectively. Furthermore, we are interested in the optimal budget allocation across groups of citizens, thus we focus on a single member, majoritarian election in a multi-district environment, where only the incumbent can engage in vote and turnout buying. Our findings enrich the distributive politics literature that frames the problem into swing vs. core states, by showing that (1) the distributive/clientelist game favors districts where more voters prefer the opposition party, resembling Dixit and Londregan (1996); (2) in every district, citizens who support the incumbent party (weakly or strongly) are the first target of its distributive/clientelist efforts, in line with Cox (2006); and (3) within those voters who receive transfers, mobilization occurs mainly across the weak supporters of the incumbent, while persuasion occurs across the weak opposers to the incumbent party, simultaneously.
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