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Vote Brokers, Clientelist Appeals, and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Russia and Venezuela

45 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2017 Last revised: 8 Sep 2017

Timothy Frye

Columbia University - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

David Szakonyi

George Washington University; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: January 18, 2017

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Frye, Timothy and Reuter, Ora John and Szakonyi, David, Vote Brokers, Clientelist Appeals, and Voter Turnout: Evidence from Russia and Venezuela (January 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2901586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2901586

Timothy Frye

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

MC3320
420 West 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-3646 (Phone)

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Ora John Reuter (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

David Szakonyi

George Washington University ( email )

2121 I Street NW
Washington, DC 20052
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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