WIDER Seminar Series

Stéphane Straub on voting corrupt politicians out of office? Evidence from a survey experiment in Paraguay

WIDER Seminar Series

Stéphane Straub will present at the WIDER Seminar Series on 13 November 2019. 

Abstract  – Voting corrupt politicians out of office? Evidence from a survey experiment in Paraguay

This paper challenges the conventional wisdom that giving voters more power - both formally through the use of more "open" electoral systems and informally through easier access to information on politicians’ wrongdoings - will necessarily result in them voting corrupt politicians out of office. Focusing on a comparison between closed-list and open-list proportional representation systems, we theoretically show that opening the lists is likely to generate a large shift of vote shares in favor of the traditional, most corrupt parties.

We design a survey experiment to test these predictions in Paraguay and find strong supporting evidence. We do not find in our context that the lack of information is a major obstacle preventing voters from voting out corrupt politicians; if anything, under the more open system, supporters of the incumbent party tend to cast more votes for politicians with a recent history of corruption.

About the speaker

Stephane Straub is a professor of economics at the Toulouse School of Economics, where he has been the head of the development group for many years. He works on issues of infrastructure, procurement, and more generally institutional development in the context of developing countries, on which he has published extensively. In 2016-17, he was on leave at the World Bank in Washington DC, working as a Lead Economist with the Sustainable Development Practice Group, and the Research Department.

He has held academic positions in the US, the UK and France and is a consultant for several international institutions such as the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Union, and the Asian Development Bank among others. He previously lived for 10 years in Paraguay, where he worked among others as an entrepreneur, a private consultant, a government adviser and a university professor.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases recent and ongoing work on key topics in development economics. The weekly sessions held in Helsinki are open to local and visiting researchers, policy makers, and others interested in development topics. Click here to learn more.

Seminars will be live streamed on Facebook and recordings and presentations will be available after the event here.

For more information email tomi@wider.unu.edu