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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Brokering Votes With Information Spread Via Social Networks 

  • Author(s): Duarte, Raul
  • Finan, Frederico
  • Laireguy, Horacio
  • Schechter, Laura
  • et al.

Throughout much of the developing world, politicians rely on political brokers to buy votes prior to elections. We investigate how social networks help facilitate vote-buying exchanges by combining village network data of brokers and voters with broker reports of vote buying. We show that networks diffuse politically-relevant information about voters to brokers who leverage it to target voters. In particular, we find that brokers target reciprocal voters who are not registered to their party and about whom they can hear more information through their social network. These results highlight the importance of information diffusion through social networks for vote buying and ultimately for political outcomes.

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