Democracy's Achilles Heel or, How to Win an Election without Really Trying
AbstractIn this paper we investigate the efficacy of illicit electoral tactics and the characteristics which make a society prone to such tactics.� We first investigate the chances of an incumbent head of government winning an election.� We find that in those elections in which illicit tactics were prevalent the chances of incumbent victory increase substantially, more than doubling the expected duration in office.� Further, illicit tactics sharply reduce the importance of good economic performance for survival in office.� We then investigate what makes a society prone to illicit electoral tactics.� Both structural conditions and institutions matter.� Societies that are small, low-income, and resource-rich have little chance of a clean election unless these conditions are offset by checks and balances such as veto points and a free press.� Aid has offsetting effects, the net effect being modest.� We show that these results are robust to different measures of the conduct of elections and to fixed effects.� Finally, we revisit the Jones-Olken result that individual leaders matter for economic performance and find that it holds only where leaders are not disciplined by well-conducted elections.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University of Oxford, Department of Economics in its series Economics Series Working Papers with number CSAE WPS/2009-08.
Date of creation: 01 Jul 2009
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