Laura A. Schechter

Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics
University of Wisconsin, Madison
427 Lorch St.
334 Taylor Hall
Madison, WI

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Wisconsin–Madison

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2019Brokering Votes With Information Spread Via Social Networks
with Raúl Duarte, Frederico Finan, Horacio Larreguy: w26241
Throughout much of the developing world, politicians rely on political brokers to buy votes prior to elections. We investigate how social networks help facilitate vote-buying exchanges by combining village network data of brokers and voters with broker reports of vote buying. We show that networks diffuse politically-relevant information about voters to brokers who leverage it to target voters. In particular, we find that brokers target reciprocal voters who are not registered to their party and about whom they can hear more information through their social network. These results highlight the importance of information diffusion through social networks for vote buying and ultimately for political outcomes.
August 2018Government Decentralization Under Changing State Capacity: Experimental Evidence From Paraguay
with Ernesto Dal Bó, Frederico Finan, Nicholas Y. Li: w24879
Standard models of hierarchy assume that agents and middle managers are better informed than principals about how to implement a particular task. We estimate the value of the informational advantage held by supervisors – middle managers – when ministerial leadership – the principal – introduced a new monitoring technology aimed at improving the performance of agricultural extension agents (AEAs) in rural Paraguay. Our approach employs a novel experimental design that elicited treatment-priority rankings from supervisors before randomization of treatment. We find that supervisors did have valuable information—they prioritized AEAs who would be more responsive to the monitoring treatment. We develop a model of monitoring under different allocation rules and roll-out scales (i.e., the share o...
September 2011Vote-Buying and Reciprocity
with Frederico Finan: w17411
While vote-buying is common, little is known about how politicians determine who to target. We argue that vote-buying can be sustained by an internalized norm of reciprocity. Receiving money engenders feelings of obligation. Combining survey data on vote-buying with an experiment-based measure of reciprocity, we show that politicians target reciprocal individuals. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of social preferences in determining political behavior.

Published: Frederico Finan & Laura Schechter, 2012. "Vote‐Buying and Reciprocity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 80(2), pages 863-881, 03. citation courtesy of

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