Chris Blattman

Unintended consequences of anti-corruption campaigns

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We provide experimental evidence that information about copious corruption not only decreases incumbent support in local elections in Mexico, but also decreases voter turnout, challengers’ votes, and erodes voters’ identification with the party of the corrupt incumbent.

Our results suggest that while flows of information are necessary, they may be insufficient to improve political accountability, since voters may respond to information by withdrawing from the political process.

A new paper from Chong, De La O, Karlan, and Wantchekon

5 Responses

  1. obviously….if you think your government is corrupt and will remain so, why bother voting. On another note, i wonder how long did it take for mr. Chong, De La O, Karlan, and Wantchekon to come to THAT conclusion.?

  2. In the US voter turnout in the primaries has been down over the last cycle, perhaps in part because of the deluge of negative advertising that is causing many to become disgusted with the process, rather than invigorated by it.
    In some way this may be another example of responding to “information” by withdrawing from the process.

  3. Anecdotally I’ve seen the same happen here in Uganda. With a (fairly) open media, and constant reports of corruption and corrupt practices within all levels of elected government, it seems many Ugandans have chosen to withdraw from the politicl lprocess.

  4. I have experienced something similar: Wherever I live, I make it a point to participate in elections if eligible. (As an EU citizen, I can vote in 27 countries.) I make it a further point to meet the candidates in person, to listen to them, read about them, talk to them.

    Sometimes, the more I learn about the candidates, the more confused I am because none of them convinces me.

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