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Vote buying is an electoral problem in many countries. Systematic analyses have considered electoral arrangements, weak law enforcement, voter monitoring, socio-economic factors, cultural norms of gift-giving and reciprocity among other important explanations for this phenomenon. My study brings religiosity into the analyses. Based on in-depth interviews with 57 informants and a survey of 237 Muslim legislative candidates in Indonesia, I argue that religiosity is relevant in understanding vote buying. I found that the more religious candidates are less likely to engage in and justify the practice. This suggests that vote buying is not just about politico-economic considerations, but also moral and religious factors as well.
Ahmad Muhajir is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political and Social Change and is a lecturer at IAIN Antasari Banjarmasin, Indonesia.