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. Guided by the existing literature and systematically verifying the sensitivity of the results to model specification, we examine the robust correlates of clientelism and discuss the implications of our key findings.


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pp. 181-218
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Will Be Archived 2022
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