Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Do Corrupt Politicians Mobilize or Demobilize Voters? A Vignette Experiment in Colombia

  • Miguel Carreras (a1) and Sofia Vera (a2)
Abstract

The literature studying the behavioral effects of political corruption is rapidly growing. While some studies explore the contextual and institutional factors that can neutralize the effects of corruption, this article addresses a different mechanism for weak electoral accountability for corruption: citizen (de)mobilization. It uses a vignette experiment embedded in a nationally representative AmericasBarometer survey in Colombia to isolate the causal effect of political corruption on electoral participation. The results suggest that receiving credible information about the corrupt behavior of politicians running for office decreases the likelihood of participation in elections. It also shows that corruption demobilizes voters even when corrupt politicians are able to provide public works to their constituencies, which casts doubt on the idea that citizens exchange integrity for favorable policy outcomes.

Copyright
Corresponding author
References
Hide All
Anderson, Christopher J., and Tverdova, Yuliya V.. 2003. Corruption, Political Allegiances, and Attitudes Toward Government in Contemporary Democracies. American Journal of Political Science 47, 1: 91109.
Anduiza, Eva, Gallego, Aina, and Muñoz, Jordi. 2013. Turning a Blind Eye: Experimental Evidence of Partisan Bias in Attitudes Toward Corruption. Comparative Political Studies 46, 12: 16641692.
Balán, Manuel. 2014. Surviving Corruption in Brazil: Lula’s and Dilma’s Success Despite Corruption Allegations, and Its Consequences. Journal of Politics in Latin America 6, 3: 6793.
Barabas, Jason, and Jerit, Jennifer. 2010. Are Survey Experiments Externally Valid? American Political Science Review 104, 2: 226242.
Bauhr, Monika, and Grimes, Marcia. 2014. Indignation or Resignation: The Implications of Transparency for Societal Accountability. Governance 27, 2: 291320.
Blake, Charles H., and Morris, Stephen D., eds. 2009. Corruption and Democracy in Latin America. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Botero, Sandra, Cornejo, Rodrigo Castro, Gamboa, Laura, Pavão, Nara, and Nickerson, David W.. 2015. Says Who? An Experiment on Allegations of Corruption and Credibility of Sources. Political Research Quarterly 68, 3: 493504.
Bowler, Shaun, and Karp, Jeffrey A.. 2004. Politicians, Scandals, and Trust in Government. Political Behavior 26, 3: 271287.
Caillier, James. 2010. Citizen Trust, Political Corruption, and Voting Behavior: Connecting the Dots. Politics and Policy 38, 5: 10151035.
Camaj, Lindita. 2013. The Media’s Role in Fighting Corruption: Media Effects on Governmental Accountability. International Journal of Press/Politics 18, 1: 2142.
Carlin, Ryan E. 2011. Distrusting Democrats and Political Participation in New Democracies: Lessons from Chile. Political Research Quarterly 64, 3: 668687.
Carlin, Ryan E., and Love, Gregory J.. 2015. Who is the Latin American Voter? In The Latin American Voter: Pursuing Representation and Accountability in Challenging Contexts, ed. Carlin, Matthew M. Singer, and Elizabeth J. Zechmeister. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. 3159.
Carlin, Ryan E., Love, Gregory J., and Martínez-Gallardo, Cecilia. 2015. Cushioning the Fall: Scandals, Economic Conditions, and Executive Approval. Political Behavior 37, 1: 109130.
Carreras, Miguel. Forthcoming. Presidential Institutions and Electoral Participation in Concurrent Elections in Latin America. Political Studies.
Carreras, Miguel, and Castañeda-Angarita, Néstor. 2014. Who Votes in Latin America? A Test of Three Theoretical Perspectives. Comparative Political Studies 47, 8: 10791104.
Carreras, Miguel, and İrepoğlu, Yasemin. 2013. Trust in Elections, Vote Buying, and Turnout in Latin America. Electoral Studies 32, 4: 609619.
Chang, Eric C. C., and Chu, Yun-han. 2005. Corruption and Trust: Exceptionalism in Asian Democracies? Journal of Politics 68, 2: 259271.
Chang, Eric C. C., Golden, Miriam A., and Hill, Seth J.. 2010. Legislative Malfeasance and Political Accountability. World Politics 62, 2: 177220.
Choi, Eunjung, and Woo, Jongseok. 2010. Political Corruption, Economic Performance, and Electoral Outcomes: A Cross-National Analysis. Contemporary Politics 16, 3: 249262.
Chong, Alberto, De La O, Ana L., Karlan, Dean, and Wantchekon, Leonard. 2015. Does Corruption Information Inspire the Fight or Quash the Hope? A Field Experiment in Mexico on Voter Turnout, Choice, and Party Identification. Journal of Politics 77, 1: 5571.
Chowdhury, Shyamal K. 2004. The Effect of Democracy and Press Freedom on Corruption: An Empirical Test. Economics Letters 85, 1: 93101.
Correa, Andrea, and Forero, Diana. 2014. Incentivos al abstencionismo electoral por apatía en ciudadanos bogotanos que nunca han votado. Suma de Negocios 5, 12: 105114.
Cox, Michaelene. 2003. When Trust Matters: Explaining Differences in Voter Turnout. Journal of Common Market Studies 41, 4: 757770.
Dahlberg, Stefan, and Solevid, Maria. 2016. Does Corruption Suppress Voter Turnout? Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties 26, 4: 489510.
Dalton, Russell J., and Welzel, Christian. 2014. The Civic Culture Transformed: From Allegiant to Assertive Citizens. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Davis, Charles L., Ai Camp, Roderic, and Coleman, Kenneth M.. 2004. The Influence of Party Systems on Citizens’ Perceptions of Corruption and Electoral Response in Latin America. Comparative Political Studies 37, 6: 677703.
De Sousa, Luis, and Moriconi, Marcelo. 2013. Why Voters Do Not Throw the Rascals Out: A Conceptual Framework for Analysing Electoral Punishment of Corruption. Crime, Law and Social Change 60, 5: 471502.
De Vries, Catherine E., and Solaz, Hector. 2017. The Electoral Consequences of Corruption. Annual Review of Political Science 20: 391408.
Dimock, Michael A., and Jacobson, Gary C.. 1995. Checks and Choices: The House Bank Scandal’s Impact on Voters in 1992. Journal of Politics 57, 4: 11431159.
Escaleras, Monica, Calcagno, Peter T., and Shughart, William F.. 2012. Corruption and Voter Participation: Evidence from the US States. Public Finance Review 40, 6: 789815.
El Espectador (Bogotá). 2015. Votar para vencer la apatía. Editorial. October 23. https://www.elespectador.com/opinion/editorial/votar-vencer-apatia-articulo-594835
Ezrow, Lawrence, and Xezonakis, Georgios. 2016. Satisfaction with Democracy and Voter Turnout: A Temporal Perspective. Party Politics 22, 1: 314.
Fernández-Vázquez, Pablo, Barberá, Pablo, and Rivero, Gonzalo. 2016. Rooting Out Corruption or Rooting for Corruption? The Heterogeneous Electoral Consequences of Scandals. Political Science Research and Methods 4, 2: 379397.
Ferraz, Claudio, and Finan, Federico. 2008. Exposing Corrupt Politicians: The Effects of Brazil’s Publicly Released Audits on Electoral Outcomes. Quarterly Journal of Economics 123, 2: 703745.
Finkel, Steven E. 1985. Reciprocal Effects of Participation and Political Efficacy: A Panel Analysis. American Journal of Political Science 29, 4: 891913.
Finkel, Steven E.. 1987. The Effects of Participation on Political Efficacy and Political Support: Evidence from a West German Panel. Journal of Politics 49, 2: 441464.
Fornos, Carolina A., Power, Timothy J., and Garand, James C.. 2004. Explaining Voter Turnout in Latin America, 1980 to 2000. Comparative Political Studies 37, 8: 909940.
Gerber, Alan S., and Green, Donald P.. 2012. Field Experiments: Design, Analysis, and Interpretation. New York: W. W. Norton.
Gil Ospina, Armando A., and Jaramillo, Harold Martínez. 2007. Las transferencias como estrategia del proyecto regional de descentralización fiscal. Gestión y Región 4: 111138.
Gingerich, Daniel W. 2009. Corruption and Political Decay: Evidence from Bolivia. Quarterly Journal of Political Science 4, 1: 134.
Grönlund, Kimmo, and Setälä, Maija. 2007. Political Trust, Satisfaction and Voter Turnout. Comparative European Politics 5, 4: 400422.
Hagopian, Frances, and Mainwaring, Scott. 2005. The Third Wave of Democratization in Latin America: Advances and Setbacks. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Hirano, Shigeo, and Snyder, James M.. 2012. What Happens to Incumbents in Scandals? Quarterly Journal of Political Science 7, 4: 447456.
Hirschman, Albert O. 1970. Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Hochstetler, Kathryn. 2006. Rethinking Presidentialism: Challenges and Presidential Falls in South America. Comparative Politics 38, 4: 401418.
Ingall, Rachael E., and Crisp, Brian F.. 2001. Determinants of Home Style: The Many Incentives for Going Home in Colombia. Legislative Studies Quarterly 26, 3: 487512.
Inglehart, Ronald, and Welzel, Christian. 2005. Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy: The Human Development Sequence. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Inman, Kris, and Andrews, Josephine T.. 2009. Corruption and Political Participation in Africa: Evidence from Survey and Experimental Research. Paper presented at the 2008 Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference, Chicago, April 3–6.
Karahan, Gökhan R., Coats, R. Morris, and Shughart, William F.. 2006. Corrupt Political Jurisdictions and Voter Participation. Public Choice 126, 1: 87106.
Karp, Jeffrey A., and Banducci, Susan A.. 2008. Political Efficacy and Participation in Twenty-Seven Democracies: How Electoral Systems Shape Political Behaviour. British Journal of Political Science 38, 2: 311334.
Kerevel, Yann P. 2014. Loyalty and Disloyalty in the Mexican Party System. Latin American Politics and Society 56, 3: 93117.
Kiewiet de Jonge, Chad. 2009. Corruption as a Mobilizing Grievance. Paper presented at the 67th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 2–5.
Klašnja, Marko, and Tucker, Joshua A.. 2013. The Economy, Corruption, and the Vote: Evidence from Experiments in Sweden and Moldova. Electoral Studies 32, 3: 536543.
Kostadinova, Tatiana. 2009. Abstain or Rebel: Corruption Perceptions and Voting in East European Elections. Politics and Policy 37, 4: 691714.
Lavallée, Emmanuelle, Razafindrakoto, Mireille, and Roubaud, François. 2008. Corruption and Trust in Political Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. Working Paper no. 102. Afrobarometer. http://afrobarometer.org/publications/wp102-corruption-and-trust-political-institutions-sub-saharan-africa
Machado, Fabiana, Scartascini, Carlos, and Tommasi, Mariano. 2011. Political Institutions and Street Protests in Latin America. Political Research Quarterly 55, 3: 340365.
Manzetti, Luigi, and Wilson, Carole J.. 2006. Corruption, Economic Satisfaction, and Confidence in Government: Evidence from Argentina. Latin Americanist 49, 2: 131139.
Marsh, David, O’Toole, Therese, and Jones, Stu. 2007. Young People and Politics in the UK: Apathy or Alienation? Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Morgenstern, Scott. 2002. Explaining Legislative Politics in Latin America. In Legislative Politics in Latin America, ed. Morgenstern and Benito Nacif. New York: Cambridge University Press. 413445.
Morris, Stephen D., and Klesner, Joseph L.. 2010. Corruption and Trust: Theoretical Considerations and Evidence from Mexico. Comparative Political Studies 43, 10: 12581285.
Morton, Rebecca B., and Williams, Kenneth C.. 2010. Experimental Political Science and the Study of Causality. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Mutz, Diana C. 2011. Population-Based Survey Experiments. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Norris, Pippa. 2002. Democratic Phoenix: Reinventing Political Activism. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Olsson, Sofia A. 2014. Corruption and Political Participation: A Multilevel Analysis. Working paper 2014: 12. Quality of Government Institute, University of Gothenburg. https://qog.pol.gu.se/digitalAssets/1551/1551580_2014_12_arkhede-olsson.pdf
Pattie, Charles J., and Johnston, Ron J.. 2012. The Electoral Impact of the UK 2009 MPs’ Expenses Scandal. Political Studies 60, 4: 730750.
Pening Gaviria, Jean Philippe. 2003. Evaluación del proceso de descentralización en Colombia. Economía y Desarrollo 2, 1: 123149.
Pérez-Liñán, Aníbal. 2001. Neoinstitutional Accounts of Voter Turnout: Moving Beyond Industrial Democracies. Electoral Studies 20, 2: 281297.
Peters, John G., and Welch, Susan. 1980. The Effects of Charges of Corruption on Voting Behavior in Congressional Elections. American Political Science Review 74, 3: 697708.
Rennó, Lucio. 2008. Rewarding the Corrupt? Reelection and Scandal Involvement in the Brazilian 2006 Legislative Elections. Colombia Internacional 68: 98106.
Rosas, Guillermo, and Manzetti, Luigi. 2015. Reassessing the Trade-off Hypothesis: How Misery Drives the Corruption Effect on Presidential Approval. Electoral Studies 39: 2638.
Rundquist, Barry S., Strom, Gerald S., and Peters, John G.. 1977. Corrupt Politicians and Their Electoral Support: Some Experimental Observations. American Political Science Review 71, 3: 954963.
Seligson, Mitchell A. 2002a. The Impact of Corruption on Regime Legitimacy: A Comparative Study of Four Latin American Countries. Journal of Politics 64, 2: 408433.
Seligson, Mitchell A. 2002b. Trouble in Paradise? The Erosion of System Support in Costa Rica, 1978–1999. Latin American Research Review 37, 1: 160185.
Smith, Amy Erica. 2009. Legitimate Grievances: Preferences for Democracy, System Support, and Political Participation in Bolivia. Latin American Research Review 44, 3: 102126.
Stockemer, Daniel, and Calca, Patricia. 2013. Corruption and Turnout in Portugal—A Municipal Level Study. Crime, Law and Social Change 60, 5: 535548.
Stockemer, Daniel, LaMontagne, Bernadette, and Scruggs, Lyle. 2013. Bribes and Ballots: The Impact of Corruption on Voter Turnout in Democracies. International Political Science Review 34, 1: 7490.
Sundström, Aksel, and Stockemer, Daniel. 2015. Regional Variation in Voter Turnout in Europe: The Impact of Corruption Perceptions. Electoral Studies 40: 158169.
Treisman, Daniel. 2007. What Have We Learned About the Causes of Corruption from Ten Years of Cross‐National Research? Annual Review of Political Science 10: 211244.
Wagner, Markus, Tarlov, Jessica, and Vivyan, Nick. 2014. Partisan Bias in Opinion Formation on Episodes of Political Controversy: Evidence from Great Britain. Political Studies 62, 1: 136158.
Warren, Mark E. 2004. What Does Corruption Mean in a Democracy? American Journal of Political Science 48, 2: 328343.
Weyland, Kurt. 2002. Limitations of Rational-Choice Institutionalism for the Study of Latin American Politics. Studies in Comparative International Development 37, 1: 5785.
Winters, Matthew S., and Weitz-Shapiro, Rebecca. 2013. Lacking Information or Condoning Corruption: When Do Voters Support Corrupt Politicians? Comparative Politics 45, 4: 418436.
Wroe, Andrew, Allen, Nicholas, and Birch, Sarah. 2013. The Role of Political Trust in Conditioning Perceptions of Corruption. European Political Science Review 5, 2: 175195.
Zamosc, Leon. 2012. Popular Impeachments: Ecuador in Comparative Perspective. In Shifting Frontiers of Citizenship: The Latin American Experience, ed. Marin Sznajder, Luis Roniger, and Carlos A. Forment. Leiden: Brill. 237266.
Zechmeister, Elizabeth J., and Zizumbo-Colunga, Daniel. 2013. The Varying Political Toll of Corruption in Good versus Bad Economic Times. Comparative Political Studies 46, 10: 11901218.
Recommend this journal

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

Latin American Politics and Society
  • ISSN: 1531-426X
  • EISSN: 1548-2456
  • URL: /core/journals/latin-american-politics-and-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

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