Corruption is a major threat to economic and social development. Democratic institutions are not necessarily conducive to less corruption. Voters may lack information on politicians’ wrongdoings, and political institutions may not allow voters to remove corrupt politicians from office. We develop a simple theoretical model describing voters’ behavior under alternative Open and Closed list systems, and derive predictions regarding the impact of electoral rules and information on candidates. We test these hypothesis in a survey experiment performed in Paraguay taking advantage of a rare social upbringing following a corruption scandal. We find that under the open system turn out and vote shares for the big political parties increase, specially so for the incumbent. While the open system is good news for big parties, it is not for the candidates in these parties related to corruption scandals.
Miquel-Florensa is Associated Member at the Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST) and holds a PhD in Economics from Columbia University.