Vote-buying is widely used by parties in developing countries to influence the outcome of elections. We examine the impact of vote-buying on growth. We consider a model with a poverty trap where redistribution can promote growth. We show that vote-buying contributes to the persistence of poverty as taxed wealthy people buy votes from poor people. We then show that there exists a democratic constitution that breaks vote buying and promotes growth. Such a constitution involves rotating agenda setting, a taxpayer-protection rule and repeated voting. The latter rule makes vote buying prohibitively costly.
vote-buying political economy poverty traps economic development voting rules repeated voting