Who's in Charge Here? Voter Punishment of Municipal Corruption

30 Pages Posted: 29 Aug 2015

See all articles by Matthew S. Winters

Matthew S. Winters

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science; Institute for Corruption Studies

Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro

Brown University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: May 1, 2015

Abstract

There is a growing consensus that voters withdraw support from a politician when they receive clear information that the politician has engaged in corruption. But do voters punish an elected executive for corrupt acts carried out under his or her watch, even if the executive is not personally implicated in corruption? To answer this question, we present the results of an embedded experiment from a nationally-representative survey in Brazil. Using vignettes that describe a hypothetical mayor, we find that citizens appear willing to punish a mayor who is involved in corruption, but that punishment of the mayor is attenuated if members of the municipal administration, and not the mayor per se, are charged with corruption. The difference is particularly pronounced when corruption information comes from a credible source and among politically sophisticated respondents. Our findings point to the importance of the availability of specific and credible information in facilitating political accountability.

Suggested Citation

Winters, Matthew S. and Weitz-Shapiro, Rebecca, Who's in Charge Here? Voter Punishment of Municipal Corruption (May 1, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2653022 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2653022

Matthew S. Winters

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Political Science ( email )

702 S. Wright Street
Urbana, IL 61801
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/mswinters1/home

Institute for Corruption Studies

Stevenson Hall 425
Normal, IL 61790-4200
United States

Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro (Contact Author)

Brown University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 1844
Providence, RI 02912
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://vivo.brown.edu/display/rweitzsh

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