Closer to the state, closer to the polls? The different impact of corruption
on turnout among public employees and other citizens
Research on the link between turnout and corruption has produced inconclusive evidence: while some studies find corruption to be positively related to turnout, others report a negative relationship. This article argues that the relevant question is not whether corruption has a positive or negative effect on turnout, but for whom. We hypothesize that the effect of corruption on the likelihood to vote depends on individuals’ employment sector. Public employees have different incentives to vote in corrupt settings since their jobs often depend on the political success of the government of the day. Hence, while corruption dampens turnout among ordinary citizens, public employees are more likely to vote in highly corrupt countries. Analysis of World Values Survey data from 44 countries, shows that the differential in voting propensity between public employees and other citizens gets larger as corruption increases, partially confirming our expectations.