Corruption and re-election chances of incumbent parties in developing countries
Possible explanations for re-electing corrupt incumbents are that elections are not free and fair, or that voters are or misinformed about incumbents’ corruption. After adjusting for election freedom and press freedom, study addresses (1) whether voters in developing countries punish incumbent parties for corruption, (2) whether broadcast on radio enhances the re-election chances of the incumbent parties in developing countries and (3) whether information about corruption changes the response of voters. Using probit models to analyze 48 elections from 33 developing countries, the study finds that: (1) corruption does not affect the re-election chances of incumbent parties in developing countries, (2) radio broadcasts enhance the re-election chances of incumbent parties in developing countries and (3) under certain circumstances, there is some evidence that information about corruption affects re-election chances of incumbent parties. The effect of information about corruption depends on whether the incumbent parties field different candidates from those in previous elections. In Africa, South and Central America, however, the effect also depends on whether the elections are free or fair. A key finding is that press freedom reduces the re-election chances of corrupt incumbent parties’ presidential candidates.
Keywords: Corruption, Re-election, Electoral Fraud, Radio, Press Freedom