Lacking information or condoning corruption: When do voters support corrupt politicians?

Matthew S. Winters, Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Why are citizens willing to cast ballots for corrupt politicians? On the one hand, voters may simply lack information about corruption. On the other hand, voters may knowingly overlook corruption when politicians otherwise perform well in office, delivering public goods to their constituents. Citizen responses to a nationwide survey in Brazil indicate that the vast majority of voters express a willingness to punish corrupt politicians, regardless of politician performance. High income voters form a partial exception to this overall rejection of corruption; they react less negatively to information about corruption and more strongly to information about competence than the general population. These findings imply that specific, credible, and accessible information will lead most voters to punish corrupt politicians at the polls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-436
Number of pages19
JournalComparative Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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