Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Economics



First Advisor

Mark Van Boening

Second Advisor

Charles Smith

Third Advisor

William Chappell

Relational Format



A large volume of literature shows that corruption affects economic growth through the lowering of the level investment. Slow economic growth is associated with high poverty levels. If corruption makes the voters economically and socially worse off, one expects the citizens to punish the corrupt politicians by not reelecting them. However, evidence shows that even in countries which are perceived to be highly corrupt, incumbents still do get reelected. Chad, for example, is ranked the third most corrupt country in Africa according to the 2010 Transparency International Report, and yet in 2011 presidential elections the incumbent was reelected. A possible explanation for voting for corrupt incumbent parties is that voters are not informed or are misinformed about corruption. This study seeks to address (1) whether or not voters in developing countries punish incumbent parties for corruption, (2) whether information on the radios enhances reelection chances of the incumbent parties in developing countries and (3) whether or not information about corruption changes the response of voters. Analyzing 48 elections from 33 developing countries using probit, the study finds: (1) corruption does not affect the reelection chances of incumbent parties in developing countries, (2) radio broadcasts enhance the reelection chances of incumbent parties in developing countries and (3) under certain circumstances, there seems to be some evidence that information about corruption affects reelection chances of incumbent parties. The effect of information about corruption depends on whether or not incumbent parties field different candidates from the previous elections. In South and Central Americas, however, the effect iii also depends on whether or not the elections are free or fair. A key finding of the study is that press freedom reduces the reelection chances of incumbent parties' presidential candidates.

Included in

Economics Commons



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