Vote-Buying and Reciprocity

Feb. 29, 2012, 4:34 p.m.

In a new paper, Fred Finan and Laura Schechter explore factors that contribute to vote-buying among individuals.

While vote-buying is common, little is known about how politicians determinewho to target. We argue that vote-buying can be sustained by an internalized normof reciprocity. Receiving money engenders feelings of obligation. Combining surveydata on vote-buying with an experiment-based measure of reciprocity, we show that politicians target reciprocal individuals. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of social preferences in determining political behavior.

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