Special Seminar on April 23rd by Dr. Burhanuddin Muhtadi

Date: April 23rd (Mon.) 2018, 16:00-
Venue: Middle-sized Meeting Room (No. 332), 3rd Floor, Inamori Foundation Building, Kyoto University


How prevalent is vote buying in Indonesia, and how effective is it? My research deals with these two key questions that have haunted scholars of Indonesian studies for the last 15 years. Using data from nationally representative surveys and experimental surveys, my study demonstrates that vote buying in Indonesia is high by international standards. My study also shows that party loyalists are disproportionately targeted in vote buying efforts, but that, in total numbers, given the relatively small number of party loyalists in Indonesia, vote buying hits more uncommitted voters. If vote buying is so misdirected and often susceptible to broker predation, why do candidates still do it? Utilising multiple data sources and various methods, I provide strong empirical evidence that gifts of money ‘only’ influenced the vote choice of roughly 10 percent of the total electorate. Here lies the key to why vote buying remains so important: while this effect may appear small, in Indonesia’s highly competitive electoral landscape, that 10 percent matters immensely. Across the country, the average margin of victory by which winning candidates defeated their co-partisans was only 1.65 percent. Most politicians, therefore, felt vote buying was decisive in determining electoral outcomes, and they pursued this electoral strategy with enthusiasm. By proposing that vote buying in Indonesia is a function of narrow victory margins, my study explains how and why vote buying is so rampant in the country.


Burhanuddin Muhtadi is a successful Ph.D thesis-submitter in the Department of Political and Social Change, at the Australian National University (ANU). He is a lecturer in “Election and Voting Behaviour” at Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University in Jakarta. He is also an executive director of the Indonesian Political Indicator (Indikator Politik Indonesia) and Director of Public Affairs at the Indonesian Survey Institute (LSI). His research interests are voting behaviour, clientelism, social movement, political Islam, and democracy. He also published his articles in reputable scholarly journals and other publications such as the Asian Studies Review, Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies (BIES), Asian Journal of Social Sciences, Asian Journal of Social Policy, Graduate Journal of Asia-Pacific Studies, New Mandala, Indonesia at Melbourne and East Asia Forum.