Electoral clientelism in Eastern Europe

 

Buying, Stealing and Expropriating Votes (with Lauren Young). Annual Review of Political Science. 19: 267-288 (DOI: 10.1146/annurev-polisci-060514-120923).

[Paper]

In elections around the world, large numbers of voters are influenced by promises or threats that are contingent on how they vote. Recently, the political science literature has made considerable progress in disaggregating clientelism along two dimensions: first, in recognizing the diversity of actors working as brokers, and second, in conceptualizing and disaggregating types of clientelism based on positive and negative inducements of different forms. In this review, we discuss recent findings explaining variation in the mix of clientelistic strategies across countries, regions, and individuals and identify a few areas for future progress, particularly in explaining variation in targeting of inducements by politicians on different types of voters.

The incidence of economic intimidation at times of elections: evidence from Romania and Bulgaria (with Aurelian Muntean and Tsveta Petrova). Government and Opposition. Forthcoming.

[Paper]

Electoral intimidation by economic actors was an important form of electoral irregularity during the first wave of democratization. This paper investigates whether this phenomenon continues to be present in contemporary elections. We seek to understand the factors accounting for the variation in the use of private electoral intimidation at the times of elections and its relative position among other forms of electoral irregularities, such as vote buying or patronage. We hypothesize that the costs of electoral intimidation by private employers are lower in localities characterized by high levels of economic concentration, but that they increase at the economic heterogeneity of a locality increases. This implies that the importance of private economic intimidation is lower in localities characterized by economic heterogeneity. To test our argument, we compare the use of different electoral irregularities in four different localities in two East European countries, Romania and Bulgaria. In each country, the localities selected for our study are comparable on every dimension except the level of economic heterogeneity. In each locality, we seek to identify the mix among different electoral irregularities through list experiments administered to voters and non-voters. We find that economic intimidation by private actor plays a large role in the repertoire of electoral irregularities in concentrated economic localities in both countries.

The Core Voter’s Curse: coercion and clientelism in Hungarian elections (with Lauren Young).

[Paper]

In elections around the world, voters are influenced not only by offers of gifts and favors by the state but also by coercion. In this paper, we examine whether and how politicians use positive and negative individually-targeted inducements in rural Hungarian communities. We argue that in this setting, characterized by high ballot secrecy and entitlements that can be politicized, targeting is influenced by two factors. First, ballot secrecy causes parties to focus on influencing the turnout decisions of voters who are ideologically close to parties because their vote choices are easily predictable. Second, election-time targeting of positive and negative inducements is influenced by the context of pre-election benefits, particularly entitlements. Because core supporters are more likely to receive entitlements during the pre-election period, they are subsequently more likely to be targeted with negative inducements during the election campaign, specifically threats to be cut off from the economic benefits on which they rely. We test this theory using an original household survey of 1800 Hungarian citizens in 100 rural communities fielded shortly after the 2014 parliamentary election.

Pressure, Favors and Vote-buying: Evidence from Romania and Bulgaria (with Tsveta Petrova and Aurelian Muntean), Europe Asia Studies, forthcoming.

[Paper]

This paper explores the mic of strategies of non-programmatic appeal to voters used by politicians in contemporary Eastern Europe. We examine these questions, using a mixed-method design, which combines survey-based experiments and qualitative research in a paired-comparison of localities in Romania and Bulgaria. Our paper documents that the mixes of clientelistic strategies differ across localities with different length of incumbency. In both Romania and Bulgaria, we find that the use of clientelistic strategies that politicize the resources of the state is higher in localities with long-term political incumbents.

Bought or coerced? The electoral mobilization of Roma voters in Eastern Europe (with Aurelian Muntean and Lauren Young)

[Paper]

What are the nonprogrammatic strategies by which candidates target Roma voters during elections? This paper examines these questions, by drawing on two original surveys conducted in the aftermath of recent elections in Hungary and Romania in 2014. The surveys include experimental techniques (list experiments) that allow us to elicit truthful answers to sensitive political questions. To unpack the question whether a Roma effect exists, we examine variation in the incidence of clientelistic strategies across localities, across voters and across different types of brokers by which candidates appeal to voters. We find a very small evidence of a targeting of clientelistic mobilization of Roma voters in both countries, which disconfirms the widely held prediction that Roma voters are more vulnerable to clientelistic mobilization as compared to non-Roma voters.

 

Mayors, ethnic intermediaries and party brokers: explaining variation in clientelistic strategies (with Aurelian Muntean).

 

[Paper]

While clientelistic mobilization is a pervasive phenomenon in contemporary elections, one encounters a wide variation in the type of brokers deployed by politicians. This paper formulates and tests a number of hypotheses that seek to explain the variation across localities in the types of brokers mobilized by politicians. We examine the relationship between political conditions in a locality and ability of candidates to incentivize three types of brokers: employees of the local administration, ethnic intermediaries and partisan brokers. We report the results of a survey fielded in 85 Romanian rural communities after the 2014 presidential election. The survey includes a battery of list experiments measuring different clientelistic strategies