Northwestern Events Calendar


Comparative Politics Workshop: Does Improving Electoral Access Facilitate Clientelism? A Reassessment of Theory and Evidence

When: Friday, May 27, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM Central

Where: Scott Hall, 212, 601 University Place, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Graduate Students

Contact: Ariel Sowers   (847) 491-7454

Group: Department of Political Science

Category: Academic


Please join the Comparative Politics Workshop in welcoming Daniel de Kadt from the London School of Economics. 

Abstract: Independent election commissions typically seek to ensure voters have easy access to the polls. One approach to this is polling station proliferation: creating new polling stations to ensure that voters do not have to travel too far to vote, and that when they arrive their wait is not too long. Multiple recent prominent studies in political science argue that one effect of polling station proliferation is to increase electoral clientelism and corruption, through either vote buying or turnout buying. In this paper we reassess the theory and evidence behind these claims. We first demonstrate that the evidence for a causal effect of polling station proliferation on vote buying is weak. We then argue that the evidence for turnout buying is consistent with a simpler explanation. Voters respond to lower travel and wait times by being more likely to vote; underlying distributions of partisanship in the population explain heterogeneous effects for different parties.

Dan de Kadt is a social and data scientist with a PhD from MIT, interested in how people make decisions, and how to make credible causal inferences in ambiguous and complex settings. 

From 2017 to 2021 de Kadt was an assistant professor of political science at the University of California Merced. He is a Senior Data Scientist at Deliveroo in London, UK, and from March 2022 will be a Senior Visiting Fellow in the Department of Government at LSE. 

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