Witch Hunts? Electoral Cycles and Corruption Lawsuits in Argentina

Germán Feierherd, Ezequiel Gonzalez-Ocantos, Guadalupe Tuñón

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Courts prosecuting corruption serve a critical horizontal accountability function, but they can also play a role in moments of vertical accountability when voters can sanction corrupt candidates. This article documents the strategic use of corruption lawsuits, demonstrating the presence of an electoral cycle in filing new corruption accusations against politicians. Using an original dataset of daily corruption complaints filed in federal courts against members of Argentina's main political coalitions between 2013 and 2021, we document increased corruption accusations against and by politicians in the periods immediately preceding an election. A second dataset of daily media coverage of corruption accusations in two leading newspapers suggests that corruption is more salient before elections, offering politicians a temporal focal point to prepare and launch especially impactful lawsuits. Our findings shed new light on using courts for accountability and debates about the so-called 'lawfare' in Latin America.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations

Keywords

  • Argentina
  • Latin America
  • corruption
  • electoral cycles
  • judicial politics

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