IDP Camps, Land, and Vote Buying

Millions of citizens are internally displaced each year due to armed conflict. These citizens often return home with only informal claims to their land. I argue that politicians exploit the discretionary allocation of land to buy votes from returning internally displaced peoples (IDPs). Unlike alternative electoral handouts, land access implies repeated interaction between voters, brokers, and politicians, making buying votes from IDPs especially efficient. I present an original randomized response experiment fielded in Northern Uganda, which provides cover for respondents that may otherwise be hesitant to report selling their votes. The results of this experiment suggest that former IDPs are indeed more often targeted with vote buying than non-IDPs. Descriptions of recent elections in this context substantiate the land-for-votes mechanism.