Research Insights: What Explains Vote Buying in Elections?

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Dec 2019
To understand why parties buy votes, a study analyzed electoral competition where parties can use both vote buying and policy promises. Parties can renege on the promises after the election. Greater vote buying is associated with less fulfillment of campaign promises, greater rent-seeking by parties and stronger electoral competition. Parties that renege more often and are less competent also promise less. The results account for stylized facts and apparent anomalies regarding vote buying, including the difficulty of transitioning from clientelist to policy-based electoral competition.