We report robust evidence of a new short-run monetary election cycle: the monthly growth rate of the money supply (M1) around elections is higher than in other months in a sample of low- and middle-income countries. We hypothesize this is related to systemic vote buying. Consistent with this, we find no cycle in authoritarian countries and countries with strong political institutions and a pronounced cycle in elections where international election monitors reported vote buying or in close elections. Using survey data on daily consumer expenditures, we show that within-household consumption of food increases in the days before elections.

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