How Governmental Corruption Breeds Clientelism: Evidence from Mexico



Ana L. De la O,

Date and Time

December 6, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to Stanford faculty, students, staff, and visiting scholars.

RSVP required by 5PM December 05.


Encina Ground Floor Conference Room


It has long been recognized that corruption and clientelism feed upon each other. However, how public malfeasance affects citizens' willingness to engage in patron-client relations remains unexplored. This article shows that perceptions, experiences, and information about political corruption influence a citizen's likelihood to sell his or her vote, and the types of gifts, favors, or public services he or she is willing to trade for it. The context of the article is Mexico's presidential and local elections. To circumvent methodological challenges posed by social desirability bias and reverse causation, the article presents evidence from a list experiment embedded in a national representative survey conducted close to the 2012 presidential election, and evidence from a field experiment conducted close to the 2009 municipal elections. I conclude that, given favorable circumstances, governmental corruption breeds forms of political behavior that are detrimental to the proper functioning of democracy, such as vote buying.

About the Speaker:

Ana L. De La O is assistant professor of Political Science at Yale University. She is affiliated with the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies, the Institution of Social and Policy Studies, and the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Her research relates to the political economy of poverty alleviation, clientelism and the provision of public goods. She recently completed a book manuscript that explores the causes and political consequences of the proliferation of Conditional Cash Transfers in Latin America. Her work has been published in academic journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, the Quarterly Journal of Political Science, and the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. She earned her PhD in Political Science from M.I.T.

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