Can institutions make voters care about corruption?

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8 Scopus citations


Voters’ punishment of corrupt politicians at the ballot box is oftentimes modest, at best. Recent studies suggest that this minor electoral sanctioning is due to limited corruption information and to the relative weakness of integrity considerations in voting behavior. We demonstrate that anticorruption measures taken by elite institutions—in this case, the Israeli Supreme Court—in close proximity to an election can increase electoral sanctioning by enhancing the importance of integrity considerations, holding corruption information fixed. We use the variation in incumbent integrity across time and space to identify the effect of an exogenous anticorruption decision by the Supreme Court on voting (study 1). We further test this effect in a novel survey experiment, with mayoral performance satisfaction as the dependent variable (study 2). Both studies demonstrate that judicial bodies have the capacity to influence electoral behavior by enhancing the importance of integrity considerations, holding corruption information constant.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1430-1442
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Levi Eshkol Institute for Social, Economic and Political Research in Israel provided generous financial support for this research. This study was approved by the ethics committee of the social science faculty at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Data and supporting materials necessary to reproduce the numerical results in the article are available in the JOP Dataverse ( An online appendix with supplementary material is available at

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved.


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