Strategic Campaigning with Vote and Turnout Buying: Theory and evidence
Title: Strategic Campaigning with Vote and Turnout Buying: Theory and evidence
Author: CASAS, Agustin
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2012/15
In this paper, I model the relationship between potential voters and a politician, who can pay citizens to vote for him – vote buying – or to show up to vote – turnout buying. This model is used to explore the optimal budget allocation across districts, focusing on single-member majoritarian elections in a multi-district environment in which only the incumbent can engage in vote and turnout buying. The results enrich the distributive politics literature by showing that a campaign with direct voting is optimally focused on the opposition strongholds, rather than on swing or core states. I need strong evidence for this result using Argentinian electoral data disaggregated at the booth level, and spending data from a poverty relief program. I show that in the month prior to the 2003 Argentine presidential election, the incumbent party spent more money on groups that were ideologically skewed toward the opposition. Consequently, those districts turned out more, and voted more for the incumbent, who had transferred the money. Furthermore, to isolate actual campaign spending from campaign promises, I use Argentina's 2001 economic and political turmoil as a natural experiment. The empirical evidence confirms that in a single-member district election without an electoral college the incumbent candidate allocates more resources where the marginal cost per vote is lower, that is, in opposition strongholds.
Subject: Vote buying; voting model; political economy; strategic campaigning; distributive politics
Type of Access: openAccess