Skip to main content Accessibility help

Who gets targeted for vote-buying? Evidence from an augmented list experiment in Turkey

  • Alı Çarkoğlu (a1) and S. Erdem Aytaç (a2)

Understanding the dynamics of vote-buying is essential for improving accountability in elections in developing democracies. While list experiments are useful for attenuating social desirability bias associated with measuring vote-buying, they are not conducive to multivariate analyses, and the question of what types of individuals are targeted is left inadequately explored. We overcome this limitation by combining a population-based list experiment with an estimator (LISTIT) that allows for multivariate analyses in an efficient manner. Our analysis suggests that in the 2011 parliamentary elections in Turkey over one-third of the electorate was targeted for vote-buying, which is more than double the proportion willing to admit when asked directly. Additionally, we find that strong partisans of the ruling Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi), less-educated individuals, and urban residents are significantly more likely to be targeted for vote-buying. We present compelling evidence for the hypotheses that parties target their core supporters and socio-economically vulnerable individuals. The strength of our evidence derives from the use of original data on vote-buying that has been collected in an unobtrusive manner and analyzed at the level of individuals.

Corresponding author
Hide All
Aytaç, S.E. (2014), ‘Distributive politics in a multiparty system: the conditional cash transfer program in Turkey’, Comparative Political Studies 47(9): 12111237.
Blair, G. and Imai, K. (2012), ‘Statistical analysis of list experiments’, Political Analysis 20(1): 4777.
Bradburn, N.M., Sudman, S., Blair, E. and Stocking, C. (1978), ‘Question threat and response bias’, Public Opinion Quarterly 42(2): 221234.
Brusco, V., Nazareno, M. and Stokes, S.C. (2004), ‘Vote-buying in Argentina’, Latin American Research Review 39(2): 6688.
Çarkoğlu, A. (2011), ‘Turkey’s 2011 general elections: toward a dominant party system?’, Insight Turkey 13(3): 4362.
Çarkoğlu, A. (2012a), ‘Voting behavior’, in M. Heper and S. Sayarı (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Modern Turkey, London: Routledge, pp. 160170.
Çarkoğlu, A. (2012b), ‘Economic evaluations vs. ideology: diagnosing the sources of electoral change in Turkey, 2002–2011’, Electoral Studies 31: 513521.
Corstange, D. (2009), ‘Sensitive questions, truthful answers? Modeling the list experiment with LISTIT’, Political Analysis 17(1): 4563.
Corstange, D. (2012), ‘Vote trafficking in Lebanon’, International Journal of Middle East Studies 44(3): 483505.
Cox, G.W. (2009), ‘Swing voters, core voters, and distributive politics’, in I. Shapiro, S.C. Stokes, E.J. Wood and A.S. Kirshner (eds), Political Representation, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 342357.
Cox, G.W. and McCubbins, M.D. (1986), ‘Electoral politics as a redistributive game’, Journal of Politics 48(2): 370389.
Dahl, R. (1987), Democracy and its Critics, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Desposato, S.W. (2007), ‘How does vote-buying shape the legislative arena?’ in F.C. Shaffer (ed.), Elections for Sale: The Causes and Consequences of Vote-Buying, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 101122.
Diaz-Cayeros, A., Estevez, F. and Magaloni, B. (2012), Strategies of vote-buying: democracy, clientelism, and poverty relief in Mexico. Unpublished manuscript, Stanford University.
Dixit, A. and Londregan, J. (1996), ‘The determinants of success of special interests in redistributive politics’, Journal of Politics 58(4): 11321155.
Gallego, J. and Wantchekon, L. (2012), ‘Experiments on clientelism and vote-buying’, in D. Serra and L. Wantchekon (eds), New Advances in Experimental Research on Corruption, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing, pp. 177212.
Gonzalez-Ocantos, E., de Jonge, C.K., Meléndez, C., Osorio, J. and Nickerson, D.W. (2012), ‘Vote-buying and social desirability bias: experimental evidence from Nicaragua’, American Journal of Political Science 56(1): 202217.
Gümüşçü, Ş. (2013), ‘The emerging predominant party system in Turkey’, Government and Opposition 48(2): 223244.
Güneş-Ayata, A. (1994), ‘Roots and trends of clientelism in Turkey’, in L. Roniger and A. Güneş-Ayata (eds), Democracy, Clientelism, and Civil Society, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 4963.
Gürkan, A.A. and Kasnakoğlu, H. (1991), ‘The political economics of agricultural price support in Turkey: an empirical assessment’, Public Choice 70: 277298.
Hasen, R.L. (2000), ‘Vote buying’, California Law Review 88(5): 13231371.
Heper, M. and Keyman, E.F. (1998), ‘Double-faced state: political patronage and the consolidation of democracy in Turkey’, Middle Eastern Studies 34(4): 259277.
Holbrook, A.L. and Krosnick, J.A. (2010), ‘Social desirability bias in voter turnout reports: tests using the item count technique’, Public Opinion Quarterly 74(1): 3767.
Kalaycıoğlu, E. (2008), ‘Attitudinal orientation to party organizations in Turkey in the 2000s’, Turkish Studies 9(2): 297316.
Kemahlıoğlu, Ö. (2012), Agents or Bosses? Patronage and Intra-Party Politics in Argentina and Turkey, Colchester, UK: ECPR Press.
Kitschelt, H. (2000), ‘Linkages between citizens and politicians in democratic polities’, Comparative Political Studies 33(6–7): 845879.
Kuklinski, J.H., Cobb, M.D. and Gilens, M. (1997), ‘Racial attitudes and the “New South”’, Journal of Politics 59(2): 323349.
Lindbeck, A. and Weibull, J.W. (1987), ‘Balanced budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition’, Public Choice 52(3): 273297.
Müftüler-Baç, M. and Keyman, E.F. (2012), ‘Turkey under the AKP: the era of dominant-party politics’, Journal of Democracy 23(1): 8599.
Nichter, S. (2008), ‘Vote buying or turnout buying? Machine politics and the secret ballot’, American Political Science Review 102(1): 1931.
Öniş, Z. (2009), ‘Conservative globalism at the crossroads: the justice and development party and the thorny path to democratic consolidation in Turkey’, Mediterranean Politics 14(1): 2140.
Sayarı, S. (1977), ‘Political patronage in Turkey’, in E. Gellner and J. Waterbury (eds), Patrons and Clients in Mediterranean Societies, London: Duckworth, pp. 103113.
Sayarı, S. (2012), ‘Political parties’, in M. Heper and S. Sayarı (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Modern Turkey, London: Routledge, pp. 182193.
Schaffer, F.C. (2007), ‘Why study vote-buying?’, in F.C. Shaffer (ed.), Elections for Sale: The Causes and Consequences of Vote-Buying, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 116.
Sniderman, P.M. and Hagendoorn, A. (2007), When Ways of Life Collide: Multiculturalism and Its Discontents in the Netherlands, Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Stokes, S.C. (2005), ‘Perverse accountability: a formal model of machine politics with evidence from Argentina’, American Political Science Review 99(3): 315325.
Stokes, S.C. (2007a), ‘Is vote-buying undemocratic?’, in F.C. Shaffer (ed.), Elections for Sale: The Causes and Consequences of Vote-buying, Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 81100.
Stokes, S.C. (2007b), ‘Political clientelism’, in C. Boix and S.C. Stokes (eds), Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 604627.
Stokes, S.C., Dunning, T., Nazareno, M. and Brusco, V. (2013), Brokers, Voters, and Clientelism: The Puzzle of Distributive Politics, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Weitz-Shapiro, R. (2012), ‘What wins votes: why some politicians opt out of clientelism’, American Journal of Political Science 56(3): 568583.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

European Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 1755-7739
  • EISSN: 1755-7747
  • URL: /core/journals/european-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed