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Experiments on Clientelism and Vote Buying

Gallego, Jorge and Wantchekon, Leonard (2012): Experiments on Clientelism and Vote Buying. Published in: Research in Experimental Economics , Vol. 15, (15 June 2012): pp. 177-212.

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Abstract

In this paper, we present a critical survey of experiments on political clientelism and vote-buying. We claim that through randomization and control, field experiments represent an important tool for answering causal questions, whereas list experiments provide useful methods that improve the hard task of measuring clientelism. We show that existing experimental research gives answers to the questions of why clientelism is effective for getting votes and winning elections, who relies more on this strategy – incumbents or challengers – how much clientelism takes place, and who tend to be the favorite targets of clientelistic politicians. The relationship between clientelism and other illicit strategies for getting votes, such as electoral violence and fraud, has also been analyzed through experimental interventions. Experiments have also studied mechanisms and policies for overcoming clientelism. Finally, we show that external validity is a major source of concern that affects this burgeoning literature

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