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Parties, Brokers, and Voter Mobilization: How Turnout Buying Depends Upon the Party’s Capacity to Monitor Brokers


Despite its prevalence, little is known about when parties buy turnout. We emphasize the problem of parties monitoring local brokers with incentives to shirk. Our model suggests that parties extract greater turnout buying effort from their brokers where they can better monitor broker performance and where favorable voters would not otherwise turn out. Exploiting exogenous variation in the number of polling stations—and thus electoral information about broker performance—in Mexican electoral precincts, we find that greater monitoring capacity increases turnout and votes for the National Action Party (PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Consistent with our theoretical predictions, the effect of monitoring capacity on PRI votes varies nonlinearly with the distance of voters to the polling station: it first increases because rural voters—facing larger costs of voting—generally favor the PRI, before declining as the cost of incentivizing brokers increases. This nonlinearity is not present for the PAN, who stand to gain less from mobilizing rural voters.

Corresponding author
Horacio Larreguy is Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Harvard University, 1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (
John Marshall is Ph.D. candidate, Department of Government, Harvard University, 1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (
Pablo Querubín is Assistant Professor, Department of Politics, New York University, 19 W 4th Street, New York, NY 10012 (
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American Political Science Review
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