Brazil Studies Program: Norms versus Action: Voting Against Malfeasance in Brazil


Thursday, April 20, 2017, 12:00pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S-050, 1730 Cambridge Street

Speaker: Taylor C. Boas, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, Boston University

Several recent studies, based on surveys that present voters with hypothetical vignettes, suggest that Brazilians are much less likely to vote for mayors who have been accused of corruption or malfeasance. Based on a field experiment conducted during the October 2016 municipal elections in the state of Pernambuco, we show that these effects do not exist in the real world. In the abstract, Brazilian voters strongly embrace the norm of punishing corrupt or malfeasant politicians; when confronted with information about their own mayor and a real-life voting decision, they fail to do so.

taylor_boasTaylor C. Boas is assistant professor of political science at Boston University. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley and has been a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame. Boas’ research examines various aspects of electoral politics and political behavior in Latin America, including campaigns, corruption, religion, and the mass media, and it adopts a multi-method approach, combining quantitative and qualitative strategies with an emphasis on causal inference. His book Presidential Campaigns in Latin America: Electoral Strategies and Success Contagion was published in 2016 by Cambridge University Press. He has published articles in American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, and World Politics, among other outlets.