Social Networks and the Targeting of Illegal Electoral Strategies
Posted: 2 Sep 2013
Date Written: 2013
Although social networks have been shown to have positive effects on a number of metrics related to politics, the same network structures that facilitate cooperation and the transmission of information in established democracies may also make it easier for politicians in consolidating democracies to identify and monitor voters for vote buying and coercion. The literature on social networks as a means of targeting for these strategies have mainly focused on explaining patronage using politician networks or voter ties to politicians. These models have not addressed the role of voter social networks, nor why some individuals are targeted for coercion while others are targeted for vote buying. This paper extends the current literature by showing that there are important features of social networks at the individual level and that these networks affect politician costs for targeting voters for one strategy or another. Using a survey of 864 households conducted in Isabela Province, Philippines, I find that individuals with more social ties are disproportionately targeted for vote buying, while individuals who discuss politics with their network are targeted for electoral violence or intimidation. Understanding these mechanisms is important because politicians can take advantage of such network ties to engage in electoral strategies that subvert democratic processes.
Keywords: elections, vote buying, violence, social networks
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation