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Dear Nachiket: Thanks very much for raising spot-on questions. My responses, unfortunately, are not based on direct evidence (the data doesn't allow it), but are conjectures. On the first: the paper discusses, in some detail, the sources or correlates of variation in vote buying across municipalities. The results can be interpreted as suggesting that vote buying is likely to be more widespread when all contenders use it. Unlike other cases of "machine politics", like in Argentina (in Professor Stokes' work), where particular parties are associated with having the networks to engage in vote buying, political parties are not well organized in the Philippines. Local electoral contestation at the municipal level is not based on national party labels, but instead, is organized around local political families or “clans”. There is nothing in the literature to suggest that the practice is associated with particular incumbents or clans. My guess, therefore, is that the negative correlation with health services holds regardless of whether just the incumbent, or all challengers are engaging in vote buying. On the second: Because the result is to be interpreted as an equilibrium correlation, and not a causal link, this question is particularly hard to answer. I confront the constraints to interpreting the "timeline" for the correlation at the end of section 4 in the paper. Vote buying in impending elections may be more likely in municipalities with a poor past record of health service delivery. The incumbent may be using vote buying to win political support, in lieu of the provision of broad public services. Challengers may be using vote buying because it is cheaper or more effective when incumbent performance has been weak. However, this interpretation runs against the evidence of no correlation with vote buying of other types of service delivery, including highly sensational forms of natural disaster assistance. For the central argument—that the survey measure of vote buying captures variation across municipalities in the proclivity towards using particularistic benefits as the basis of political support—the timing of vote buying is not critical to interpreting the correlation as the equilibrium policy outcome of clientelism. A sequence of events where vote buying strategies are heightened following weak incumbent performance in delivering pro-poor services is not inconsistent with this interpretation since it still reflects a direct trade-off between buying votes versus supplying broad public services. The distinction may be relevant, though, for pragmatic identification of "entry points" for reform. Well-intentioned politicians, who are hamstrung by weak bureaucracies or a culture of under-performance by service providers, may welcome opportunities to intervene with governance interventions, and turn service delivery around in advance of an election, to thwart challenges on the basis of vote buying. This may be one way to think of the Ceara example from Brazil, studied by Professor Tendler, about how a reform leader at the provincial level may have transformed local politics at the municipal level. The key, I think, is to build a rigorous learning program around identifying what governance interventions work, even when, or especially when local politics revolves around practices like vote buyin