Roger Thayer Stone Center For Latin American Studies

Tulane University

Challenging Corruption in an Emerging Market Economy: When Will Brazilian Voters Act on Information about Corruption?

February 20th, 2015
2:00 PM

Greenleaf Conference Room
100A Jones Hall

The Political Science Department and the Murphy Institute are sponsoring a paper by Matthew Winters, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, who will present a paper entitled: “Challenging Corruption in an Emerging Market Economy: When Will Brazilian Voters Act on Information about Corruption?” (with Rebecca Weitz-Shapiro). The paper presentation is part of the Political Science Seminar series.

Paper Abstract:
When are citizens most likely to hold politicians to account for wrongdoing? In a crowded information environment, political accountability requires both that credible information about politician behavior is available, and that citizens are able to identify credible information as such. Focusing on this second requirement, we argue that the ability to discern more from less credible information is increasing in citizens’ cognitive and political sophistication. Using data from an original survey experiment in Brazil, we show that all citizens react negatively to corruption allegations, but that respondents with greater education and political knowledge are more likely to discern between sources of information with differing credibility. In particular, they are more skeptical of less credible sources than their less sophisticated counterparts. Our findings suggest a novel mechanism that may link increasing education with control of political corruption: educated citizens are better able to discern and therefore act on credible accusations.

For more information or to obtain a copy of the paper prior to the seminar, please contact Virginia Oliveros (

Brazil + People
Martha Huggins
Professor Emerita - Sociology