Is Vote Buying Effective? Evidence from a Field Experiment in West Africa

32 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2014

See all articles by Pedro C. Vicente

Pedro C. Vicente

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics

Date Written: February 2014

Abstract

Vote buying, i.e. cash for votes, happens frequently in many parts of the world. However, in the presence of secret ballots, there is no obvious way to enforce vote transactions. To infer effects of vote buying on electoral behaviour, I designed and conducted a randomised field experiment during an election in São Tomé and Príncipe. I follow a voter education campaign against vote buying, using panel survey measurements as well as disaggregated electoral results. Results show that the campaign reduced the influence of money offered on voting, decreased voter turnout and favoured the incumbent. This evidence suggests that vote buying increases participation and counteracts the incumbency advantage.

Suggested Citation

Vicente, Pedro C., Is Vote Buying Effective? Evidence from a Field Experiment in West Africa (February 2014). The Economic Journal, Vol. 124, Issue 574, pp. F356-F387, 2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2400784 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ecoj.12086

Pedro C. Vicente (Contact Author)

New University of Lisbon - Nova School of Business and Economics ( email )

Campus de Campolide
Lisbon, 1099-032
Portugal

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