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Institutional Corruption and Election Fraud: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan

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  • Michael Callen
  • James D. Long

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between political networks, weak institutions, and election fraud during the 2010 parliamentary election in Afghanistan combining: (i) data on political connections between candidates and election officials; (ii) a nationwide controlled evaluation of a novel monitoring technology; and (iii) direct measurements of aggregation fraud. We find considerable evidence of aggregation fraud in favor of connected candidates and that the announcement of a new monitoring technology reduced theft of election materials by about 60 percent and vote counts for connected candidates by about 25 percent. The results have implications for electoral competition and are potentially actionable for policymakers. (JEL C93, D02, D72, K42, O17)

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Callen & James D. Long, 2015. "Institutional Corruption and Election Fraud: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 354-381, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:1:p:354-81 Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20120427
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Eli Berman & Michael J. Callen & Clark Gibson & James D. Long, 2014. "Election Fairness and Government Legitimacy in Afghanistan," NBER Working Papers 19949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Benjamin Crost & Joseph H. Felter & Hani Mansour & Daniel I. Rees, 2013. "Election Fraud and Post-Election Conflict: Evidence from the Philippines," HiCN Working Papers 158, Households in Conflict Network.
    3. Casas, Agustín & Díaz, Guillermo & Trindade, André, 2017. "Who monitors the monitor? Effect of party observers on electoral outcomes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 136-149.
    4. Frederico Finan & Benjamin A. Olken & Rohini Pande, 2015. "The Personnel Economics of the State," NBER Working Papers 21825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Casas, Agustín & Díaz, Guillermo & Trindade, André, 2017. "Who monitors the monitor? Effect of party observers on electoral outcomes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 136-149.
    6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2014. "Under the Thumb of History? Political institutions and the Scope for Action," Working Papers id:5640, eSocialSciences.
    7. Nikolaos Artavanis & Adair Morse & Margarita Tsoutsoura, 2015. "Tax Evasion across Industries: Soft Credit Evidence from Greece," NBER Working Papers 21552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Zhang, Yue-Jun & Jin, Yan-Lin & Chevallier, Julien & Shen, Bo, 2016. "The effect of corruption on carbon dioxide emissions in APEC countries: A panel quantile regression analysis," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 112(C), pages 220-227.
    9. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2014. "Under the Thumb of History? Political Institutions and the Scope for Action," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 951-971, August.
    10. Luke Condra & Mohammad Isaqzadeh & Sera Linardi, 2016. "Imagined vs. Actual "Others": An Experiment on Interethnic Giving Afghanistan," Framed Field Experiments 00546, The Field Experiments Website.
    11. Catalina Tejada & Eliana Ferrara & Henrik Kleven & Florian Blum & Oriana Bandiera & Michel Azulai, 2015. "State Effectiveness, Growth, and Development," Working Papers id:6668, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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