- Costas-Pérez, Elena & Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2012. "Corruption scandals, voter information, and accountability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 469-484.
ABSTRACT: We study the effects of the availability of information about corruption scandals on electoral outcomes. The paper uses a novel and rich database with information on corruption scandals that affected Spanish local governments during the period 1996–2009. The database includes information about press coverage of each scandal and also about the intervention of the judiciary as published by the press. This allows us to analyze whether voters react to the amount of information (e.g., number of news) and to information regarding the seriousness of the case (e.g., judicial charges). We find that the incumbent's vote loss after a corruption scandal can rise to 14% when we consider cases in which the incumbent has been charged with corruption and press coverage has been extensive. However, we find no vote loss at all in cases dismissed or with reports to the courts which did not lead to further judicial intervention. The results suggest that information provided by the press modifies voters' beliefs regarding the prevalence of corrupt activities and helps them disentangle cases of founded vs. unfounded corruption.
- Costas-Pérez, Elena, 2015. "Political Corruption on Turnout: Mobilization or Disaffection?", Working Paper 2014/27, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB). . (Job Market Paper, R&R Journal of Politcs)
ABSTRACT: Corruption scandals may modify voter turnout, either by mobilizing citizens to go to the polls to punish or support the malfeasant politician or by demotivating individuals to vote as a consequence of disaffection with the democratic process. We study whether these effects depend on individual’s partisan leanings and/or the timing of corruption scandals. Our database includes information on Spanish local scandals from 1999 to 2007, and survey data on individuals’ turnout at the 2007 local elections. We use a matched database to identify the corruption-free pairs for our corruption affected municipalities’ sample. Our results show that while neither past nor recent corruption scandals have impact on turnout, repeated corruption cases boost abstentionism. We also find that independent voters - those with no attachment to any political party - are the only ones that withdraw from elections as a consequence of corruption. Core supporters do not modify their electoral participation after a scandal has broken out. Those who support the incumbent do not even recognise that their party is corrupt, while both independent voters and opposition core supporters report higher levels of corruption perceptions once a scandal is revealed.
Work in progress:
- Costas-Pérez, Elena & Solé-Ollé, Albert & Sorribas-Navarro, Pilar, 2014. "Press Coverage of Political Scandals: Slant and Capture", Latest version to be uploaded
ABSTRACT: We examine whether the coverage of local political scandals by Spanish newspapers is biased in favor of: (i) mayors belonging to parties ideologically close to the editorial position of the newspaper, and (ii) mayors belonging to parties controlling higher layers of government. With this purpose, we use a novel database with information on nearly 900 corruption scandals spanning from 1999 to 2011. For these scandals we have compiled all the news reports published in Spanish local, regional and national newspapers. We have performed automated text analysis of the headlines, so we are able to measure both the amount of press coverage and for its tone.
- Costas-Pérez, Elena. "Does privatization influence corruption perceptions? Evidence from Latin America", 2012.
ABSTRACT: The aim of this paper is to analyse the effects of privatization satisfaction on corruption perceptions. In Latin America there is a paradoxical situation, where welfare gains of pro-market reforms have not been translated into individuals’ levels of privatizations satisfaction. Corruption could be explaining this gap. We use more than 120.000 individual observations from Latinobarómetro data, for the period 1998-2005. To overcome the omitted variables bias and the endogeneity of privatization opinions, we introduce beliefs in the analysis and we implement a bivariate probit as well as an IV linear regression. With the use of adequate techniques and instruments, privatization satisfaction increases up to 30% the probability of considering corruption the most important problem of the country.