Promises, Promises: Vote-Buying and the Electoral Mobilization Strategies of Non-Credible Politicians

38 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Marek Hanusch

Marek Hanusch

University of Oxford

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank

Date Written: October 1, 2013

Abstract

Vote-buying is pervasive, but not everywhere. What explains significant variations across countries in the greater use of pre-electoral transfers to mobilize voters relative to the use of pre-electoral promises of post-electoral transfers? This paper explicitly models the trade-offs that politicians incur when they decide between mobilizing support with vote-buying or promises of post-electoral benefits. Politicians rely more on vote-buying when they are less credible, target vote-buying to those who do not believe their political promises, and only buy votes from those who would have received post-electoral transfers in a world of full political credibility. The enforcement of a prohibition on vote-buying reduces the welfare of those targeted with vote-buying, but improves the welfare of all other groups in society.

Keywords: Politics and Government, Civic Participation and Corporate Governance, Wages, Compensation & Benefits, Political Systems and Analysis, State Owned Enterprise Reform

Suggested Citation

Hanusch, Marek and Keefer, Philip, Promises, Promises: Vote-Buying and the Electoral Mobilization Strategies of Non-Credible Politicians (October 1, 2013). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6653, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2340779

Marek Hanusch (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

1300 New York Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States
202-623-1961 (Phone)

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