In Senegal, as in other emerging African democracies, political corruption remains rampant. While all experts on Africa acknowledge the profound impact of widespread corruption on politics, there is disagreement on the role corruption plays on average citizens' behavior. Does corruption affect participation in Africa, and if so, does it do so because powerful patrons compel or bribe Africans to vote? Or, are Africans motivated to vote because they dislike corruption and want to punish or remove corrupt leaders? Using a field based experiment set in Senegal, we study the effect of perceptions of national-level corruption on political participation. We find that as perceived corruption increases, subjects are more likely to vote. We replicate these findings with Round 3 of the Afrobarometer survey.
Key words: Corruption, voting, turnout, ethnicity, participation.
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