Vote-Selling as Unethical Behavior: Effects of Voter’s Inhibitory Self-Control, Decision Toward Vote-Buying Money, and Candidate’s Quality in Indonesia Election


  • Rizka Halida
  • Harry Susianto
  • Saiful Mujani
  • Annas J. Pratama


This study examines two stages of vote-selling among voters: to accept or refuse money, and then to vote for the vote-buyer or competitor. Using unethical behavior and money-as-temptation as a framework, we predict that the amount of the money will influence the decision to accept, but that the effect will be lower among voters with higher inhibitory self-control (ISC). We also predict that accepting money will influence the vote choice, but that the influence will be lower when the competitor has higher levels of integrity and leadership. Overall, the voters decision on money offered will moderate the relations between amount of money and vote choice. A population-based survey experiment with 1,220 participants of Indonesian voters was conducted to test these predictions. Participants were randomly assigned to one of 12 groups using a 4 (money offered: IDR50,000 vs. 100,000 vs. 150,000 vs. none) × 3 (candidate's personal quality: high leadership competitor vs. high integrity competitor vs. equal) between-group design. They made two hypothetical decisions: to accept or refuse the money, and to vote for the vote buyer or the competitor. The results showed that participants were signicantly tempted by larger amount of money, but the effect was moderated by ISC. However, there were no significant interaction between decision on money offered and candidates’ quality in influencing vote choice. Results from mediation analysis showed that accepting money was significantly mediate the influence of money on vote choice. Theoretical implications for understanding the practice of vote-buying and vote-selling are discussed.