How does corruption affect voting behavior when economic conditions are poor? Using a novel experimental design and two original survey experiments, we offer four important conclusions. First, in a low corruption country (Sweden), voters react negatively to corruption regardless of the state of the economy. Second, in a high corruption country (Moldova), voters react negatively to corruption only when the state of the economy is also poor; when economic conditions are good, corruption is less important. Third, respondents in Sweden react more strongly to corruption stimuli than respondents in Moldova. Finally, in the low corruption country, sociotropic corruption voting (or voting based on corruption among political leaders) is relatively more important, whereas in our high corruption country, pocketbook corruption voting (or voting based on one's own personal experience with corruption, i.e., being asked to pay bribes) is equally prevalent. Our findings are consistent with multiple stable corruption equilibria, as well as with a world where voters are more responsive to corruption signals more common in their environment.
- Political behavior
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations