Vote-buying, anti-corruption campaigns, and identity in African elections
Lise Rakner with new article in World Development.
Professor Lise Rakner has together with colleagues Kristen Kao and Ellen Lust from the University of Gothenburg published the article “Vote-buying, anti-corruption campaigns, and identity in African elections” in the journal World Development.
The authors claim that the literature on democracies in the developing world paints a picture of rampant vote buying. A growing research field has shed light on how politicians decide whom to target, how individuals view vote buying, and the consequences of such practices. Yet, most research compares support for candidates offering handouts to those who do not. It fails to explore how offering handouts compares to other campaign strategies – promising future targeted goods or community goods, explicitly eschewing vote buying campaign tactics, or garnering support based on ethnic or local social ties.
In this article, Kao, Lust and Rakner employ a conjoint experiment fielded in Malawi (n = 1,166) to examine the relative power of vote buying versus other campaign tactics. Their experimental results reveal that respondents view candidates who promise community service provision or criticize vote buying more positively than those who offer handouts. They also find that the magnitude of the effects for community service provision and anti-vote buying campaigns are greater than that of platforms associated with coethnicity and local social ties.
These findings are both substantively and theoretically important. Policymakers and practitioners engaged in voter education efforts may counter vote buying by informing candidates of the potential electoral benefits to championing anti-vote buying platforms and providing community services. Likewise, scholars can better understand elections, representation and democracy by further exploring how different types of voters respond to various campaign appeals in Africa.
Read full article HERE.
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