Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 9 > Issue 3

Brokered Politics in Brazil: An Empirical Analysis

Daniel W. Gingerich, Department of Politics, University of Virginia, USA, dwg4c@virginia.edu
Suggested Citation
Daniel W. Gingerich (2014), "Brokered Politics in Brazil: An Empirical Analysis", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 9: No. 3, pp 269-300. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00013040

Publication Date: 18 Sep 2014
© 2014 D. W. Gingerich
Comparative politics,  Electoral behavior,  Elections,  Political corruption,  Campaigns,  Campaign finance


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In this article:
1. Mensalão Mineiro: Background and Context 
2. Who Gets Bought? 
3. Does Buying Off Local Bosses Work? 
4. Methods 
5. Results 
6. Conclusion 


An emerging literature emphasizes the importance of vote brokers for electoral politics in the developing world. Yet in spite of the great interest in the topic, attempts to assess the impact of vote brokerage on election returns are exceedingly rare. This paper provides the first explicit assessment of the electoral returns to politicians from purchasing the allegiances of brokers. It does so by drawing upon a unique dataset documenting the allocation of off-the-books payments to vote brokers during a gubernatorial reelection campaign in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The study finds that in the typical municipality buying off local brokers was associated with a 4–6 percentage point increase in the vote share obtained by the governor. All told, the findings suggest that vote brokerage is a resilient form of political linkage that can shape vote choice even in contexts of vote secrecy and intermediate levels of economic development.