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Election fairness and government legitimacy in Afghanistan


  • Berman, Eli
  • Callen, Michael
  • Gibson, Clark C.
  • Long, James D.
  • Rezaee, Arman


Elections can enhance state legitimacy. One way is by improving citizens’ attitudes toward government, thereby increasing their willingness to comply with rules and regulations. We investigate whether reducing fraud in elections improves attitudes toward government in a fragile state. A large, randomly assigned fraud-reducing intervention in Afghan elections leads to improvement in two indices, one measuring attitudes toward their government, and another measuring stated willingness to comply with governance. Thus, reducing electoral fraud may offer a practical, cost-effective method of enhancing governance in a fragile state.

Suggested Citation

  • Berman, Eli & Callen, Michael & Gibson, Clark C. & Long, James D. & Rezaee, Arman, 2019. "Election fairness and government legitimacy in Afghanistan," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 292-317.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:168:y:2019:i:c:p:292-317
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.10.011

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    More about this item


    Election fraud; Democracy; Legitimacy; Development; Experiment; Afghanistan;

    JEL classification:

    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism


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