Do electoral handouts affect voting behavior?

Do electoral handouts affect voting behavior?

The literature on vote-buying often assumes a complete transaction of cash for votes. While there is ample evidence that candidates target certain voters with cash handouts, it is unclear whether these actually result in higher turnout and vote shares for the distributing party.

Empirically, using different matching techniques and accounting for district-level factors, the authors find that cash handouts have little to no effect on either turnout or vote shares during the 2011 presidential election in Benin. They cross-validate these results with additional surveys from four other African countries (Kenya, Mali, Botswana, and Uganda). Results suggest that vote-buying is better explained as an incomplete transaction between candidates and voters and that handouts from multiple parties as well as district-level traits (e.g. patronage, public goods) may account for the null effects observed.
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