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Abstract

Community targeting of vote payments - defined as the saturation of entire neighborhoods with cash prior to elections - is widespread in the developing world. In this paper, we utilize laboratory experiments conducted in the U.S. and Kenya to demonstrate that, relative to individual targeting, a vote-buying regime that distributes payments widely renders voters more tolerant of politician rent-seeking, and increases the level of politician rent-seeking observed in equilibrium. The most parsimonious model of preferences consistent with these patterns is a model in which both politicians and voters are characterized by multifaceted social preferences, encompassing reciprocity, altruism, and inequality aversion.

Citation

Foarta, Dana, Jessica Leight, Rohini Pande, and Laura Ralston. "Value for Money? Community Targeting in Vote-Buying and Politician Accountability." CEPR Discussion Papers, January 2018.