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When Is Buying Votes Wrong?

Michael S. Kochin and Levis A. Kochin
Public Choice
Vol. 97, No. 4 (1998), pp. 645-662
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30024452
Page Count: 18
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When Is Buying Votes Wrong?
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Abstract

In modem liberal democracies, offering individual voters in political elections money for their votes is wrong and illegal; offering groups of voters particular benefits in exchange for their votes is constitutionally protected. Voters do not sell their votes; instead, voters assign their votes to legislative representatives who sell or trade for them. Examining the role of coalition costs in political and corporate elections, we argue that these rules protect voters from themselves, from being compelled to approve proposals that leave them individually worse off. Simultaneously, these rules allow voters to seek particular benefits through collective organization and legislative representation.

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