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Vote Buying, Norms, and Trust in Elections

3. Dezember 2019, 11:00 Uhr

GESIS, Mannheim B2,1

Prof. Liz Zechmeister


Vote buying undercuts electoral freedom and fairness, but does it undermine trust in elections? Responding to debate in the field, we develop three core propositions. First, on average, vote buying exposure predicts lower trust in elections. Second, norms regarding the acceptability of vote buying practices vary and condition the relationship between receiving a vote buying offer and having confidence in elections. Third, norms regarding vote buying vary by political geography such that the practice is more tolerated in more peripheral areas. From this foundation, we draw out and test an observable implication: vote buying tends to corrode trust in elections among those in the urban core, yet have less consequence for trust in elections in the periphery. To test these expectations, we use data from LAPOP’s 2010 and 2014 AmericasBarometer, a 2017 national survey of Nicaragua, and a geocoded 2014 national survey of Mexico. Analyses affirm the propositions, demonstrating that the public opinion consequences of vote buying are conditional on norms that vary across individuals and places.

About the Speaker

Elizabeth J. Zechmeister (Ph.D., Duke) is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Political Science and the Director of the LAPOP Lab at Vanderbilt University.  Her work includes studies of voting, ideology, political parties, representation, charisma, and crisis. Prof. Zechmeister has received support from the U.S. National Science Foundation for investigations into the opinion consequences of terrorist threat and natural disaster. Her research has been published in outlets such as Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, and American Journal of Political Science. Additionally, she is author of Democracy at Risk: How Terrorist Threats Affect the Public (Chicago, 2009) and Latin American Party Systems (Cambridge, 2010). She is co-editor of The Latin American Voter: Pursuing Representation and Accountability in Challenging Contexts (Michigan, 2015). As LAPOP’s Director, Prof. Zechmeister coordinates the AmericasBarometer regional survey. She also currently serves as President of the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section of the American Political Science Association and Chair of the CSES Module 6 Planning Committee. She is visiting GESIS as a guest of Data and Research on Society (DRS) and the CSES project.