The Washington Post

Exposing corruption can decrease voter turnout, researchers say

A protester takes part on a rally in front of the anti-corruption court in Jakarta, Indonesia. (SOURCE: AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

“We provide experimental evidence that information about copious corruption not only decreases incumbent support in local elections in Mexico, but also decreases voter turnout, challengers’ votes, and erodes voters’ identification with the party of the corrupt incumbent. Our results suggest that while flows of information are necessary, they may be insufficient to improve political accountability, since voters may respond to information by withdrawing from the political process. We conclude with a discussion of the institutional contexts that could allow increased access to information to promote government accountability...

If the exposure of rampant corruption leads voters to believe that voting will not benefit them (either because they lose trust in governments, or in their ability to respond to their constituents’ needs), then they will not bother to vote since the costs of casting a ballot would be bigger than the benefits.”

The paper goes on to explain that voters may pull their support from a corrupt candidate’s political party, but they won’t necessarily be mobilized to back the political opposition as a result.

(h/t Chris Blattman)


Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read


Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
Don’t be ‘that’ sports parent | On Parenting
Miss Manners: The technology's changed, but the rules are the same
A flood of refugees from Syria but only a trickle to America
Play Videos
John Lewis, 'Marv the Barb' and the politics of barber shops
Kids share best advice from mom
Using Fitbit to help kids lose weight
Play Videos
This man's job is binge-watching for Netflix
Transgender swimmer now on Harvard men's team
Portland's most important meal of the day
Play Videos
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
The signature drink of New Orleans