Vote Brokers, Clientelist Appeals, and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Russia and Venezuela
45 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2017 Last revised: 8 Sep 2017
Date Written: January 18, 2017
There is a large literature on the causes of clientelism, but fewer studies examine its effectiveness. We argue that the effectiveness of clientelism depends on 1) the identity of the broker who mediates clientelist exchange and 2) the type of inducement that is used. Using framing experiments and direct questions placed on surveys in Venezuela and Russia, we find that respondents are most likely to respond to turnout appeals from employers. Employers have significant levers of influence over employees, are able to monitor voter behavior, and are engaged in repeated interactions with voters. This makes them effective vote brokers. We also find that negative inducements (e.g. threats and intimidation) usually outperform positive inducements (e.g. gifts and rewards), and that threats made to collectives resonate more strongly than those made to individuals. These results suggest that the clientelism literature could benefit by paying more attention to employers, negative inducements, and threats against organizations.
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