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Growth of Electoral Fraud in Non-Democracies: The Role of Uncertainty

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  • Dmitriy Vorobyev
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    Abstract

    Electoral fraud has become an integral part of electoral competition both in established democracies and less-than-democratic regimes. In this paper I study electoral fraud in the non-democratic setting. First, I present evidence of fraud sustainability and growth over the lifetime of non-democratic regimes in post-Soviet and Sub-Saharan countries. Second, I provide a theoretical model that explains the observed tendency of growing fraud. Specifically, in a probabilistic voting model of electoral competition with falsifications, a corrupt incumbent faces two types of uncertainty: uncertainty about voters’ attitude towards fraud and uncertainty about his true support, captured by a purely random component in the voters’ utility over candidates. The model predicts that when uncertainty is sufficiently large, higher uncertainty about voters’ fraud intolerance provides weaker incentives to commit fraud. Over time the incumbent becomes more certain about voters’ reaction to fraud because of learning through Bayesian updating and, thus, as the deterrent role of fraud intolerance uncertainty declines, the incentives to commit fraud become stronger, providing a growing fraud profile.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economic Institute, Prague in its series CERGE-EI Working Papers with number wp420.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2010
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    Handle: RePEc:cer:papers:wp420

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    Keywords: election; voting; fraud; learning;

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    1. Rogoff, Kenneth, 1990. "Equilibrium Political Budget Cycles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(1), pages 21-36, March.
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    4. Edward L. Glaeser, 2005. "The Curley Effect: The Economics of Shaping the Electorate," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-19, April.
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    7. Gregory, Paul & Schrôder, Philipp & Sonin, Konstantin, 2006. "Dictators, Repression and the Median Citizen: An “Eliminations Model” of Stalin’s Terror (Data from the NKVD Archives)," CEPR Discussion Papers 6014, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Christina Schneider, 2010. "Fighting with one hand tied behind the back: political budget cycles in the West German states," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 142(1), pages 125-150, January.
    9. Ruben Enikolopov & Maria Petrova & Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, 2010. "Media and Political Persuasion: Evidence from Russia," Working Papers w0149, Center for Economic and Financial Research (CEFIR).
    10. Paul Collier & Pedro Vicente, 2012. "Violence, bribery, and fraud: the political economy of elections in Sub-Saharan Africa," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 153(1), pages 117-147, October.
    11. Ashish Chaturvedi, 2005. "Rigging elections with violence," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 125(1), pages 189-202, July.
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