Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

Joint CeDEx / NICEP Seminar - Amma Panin (University of Louvain)

via Zoom
Wednesday 27th October 2021 (14:00-15:00)

Why Money Can’t Buy You Political Love: Lab Experiments on Bribery and Reciprocity in Ghana and Uganda

Reciprocity seems to be at the heart of vote-buying. Politicians offer money in exchange for votes. And indeed, in many states in sub-Saharan Africa, candidates for elected position are observed to hand out money both during their time in office and especially during election campaigns. Yet elections continue to be held and widely attended, suggesting support for democratic norms. Citizens who support democratic norms are likely to view the raw exchange of money for votes as illegitimate—although they may enjoy reciprocal relationships in other contexts. We test for support of democratic norms using lab-in-the-field experiments with randomly recruited citizens in Ghana and Uganda. Participants are split into the roles of voters and candidates. Some candidates can offer "something small" before the vote takes place. Overall, voters are 0.13 percentage points more likely to vote for a candidate who had the opportunity to bribe but refrained from doing so. Compared to Uganda, candidates in Ghana are less likely to offer bribes and voters in Ghana are more likely to punish bribes—consistent with higher levels of support for democratic norms revealed by other, non-incentivized, measures.



Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics

Sir Clive Granger Building
University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0)115 951 4763
Enquiries: suzanne.robey@nottingham.ac.uk
Experiments: cedex@nottingham.ac.uk