I Sell My Vote, and So What? A New Database and Evidence from Colombia

44 Pages Posted: 18 Mar 2017

See all articles by Leopoldo Fergusson

Leopoldo Fergusson

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Carlos Molina

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics, Students

Juan Riaño

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Date Written: March 17, 2017

Abstract

Exchanging one's vote for particularistic benefits - practices usually grouped under 'clientelism' - is often thought to weaken programmatic links between citizens and politicians and disincentivize public good provision, as well as undermine voter autonomy and the ideal role of elections. However, empirically analyzing this key phenomenon for the working of democracies entails formidable challenges. We conduct list experiments on a large sample of households to estimate the incidence of clientelistic vote buying, as well as the extent to which respondents refrain from openly recognizing this behavior. Nearly one out of every five respondents engage in clientelism and, surprisingly, they do not feel ashamed to admit it. Using the literature to guide our analysis, we examine the robust correlates of clientelism, finding that vote buying increases with poverty, reciprocity, disregard for the rule of law and, challenging several theories, interest in politics.

Keywords: Clientelism, vote buying, social desirability bias, list experiments

JEL Classification: C83, C93, D72, D73

Suggested Citation

Fergusson, Leopoldo and Molina, Carlos and Riaño, Juan, I Sell My Vote, and So What? A New Database and Evidence from Colombia (March 17, 2017). Documento CEDE No. 2017-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2935385 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2935385

Leopoldo Fergusson (Contact Author)

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1a No. 18A-10
Santafe de Bogota, AA4976
Colombia

HOME PAGE: http://www.googlesyndicatedsearch.com/u/uniandes?q=Leopoldo+Fergusson

Carlos Molina

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States

Juan Riaño

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

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