Understanding vote buying in Nepali elections

Jeevan Baniya, Stephen A. Meserve, Daniel Pemstein, Brigitte Seim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A growing literature posits that vote buying dynamics depend on characteristics of the context and its voters. We explore vote buying in Nepal using a multi-methods approach combining survey experiments, semi-structured interviews, and focus group discussions. We find that vote buying in Nepal aligns somewhat with other contexts. A list experiment reveals approximately 25% of Nepali voters receive a voter-buying offer and, in an unmonitored but contingent exchange, the same percentage vote for the offeror candidate or party. Cash and other private goods are the most common offers. In contrast to findings from other contexts, however, voter education level is the strongest predictor of refraining from vote buying in Nepal, and wealth is not a significant predictor. Our list experiment also finds that, in Nepal, clientelism appears to be a socially undesirable activity. Overall, our results support the increasingly dominant viewpoint that vote buying is highly context dependent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102766
JournalElectoral Studies
StatePublished - Apr 2024


  • Clientelism
  • Comparative political economy
  • Democratization
  • Nepal
  • Political development
  • Vote buying

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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