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Electoral fraud and voter turnout: An experimental study

Author

Listed:
  • Vardan Baghdasaryan

    () (American University of Armenia and Affiliate Fellow at CERGE-EI, Prague.)

  • Giovanna Iannantuoni

    () (University of Milano-Bicocca)

  • Valeria Maggian

    () (Univ Lyon, CNRS, GATE L-SE UMR 5824, F-69130 Ecully, France)

Abstract

In this paper we experimentally investigate the consequences of electoral fraud on voter turnout. The experiment is based on a strategic binary voting model where voters decide whether to cast a costly vote in favour of their preferred candidate or to abstain. The minority candidate can illicitly influence the electoral process by applying ballot-box stuffing. In the experiment we implement two different framings: we compare voter turnout in a neutral environment and with framed instructions to explicitly replicate elections. This approach enables to both test the model's predictions and to estimate the framing effects of voting and fraud. Comparison of experimental results with theoretical predictions reveals over-voting, which is exacerbated when fraud occurs. Turnout increases as predicted with moderate level of fraud while, with higher electoral fraud, voters fail to recognize that the existence of a relatively larger number of "agents" voting with certainty considerably decreases the benefits of voting. Importantly, framing matters, as revealed by the higher turnout of those in the majority group, against which the fraud is applied.

Suggested Citation

  • Vardan Baghdasaryan & Giovanna Iannantuoni & Valeria Maggian, 2017. "Electoral fraud and voter turnout: An experimental study," Working Papers 1716, Groupe d'Analyse et de Théorie Economique Lyon St-Étienne (GATE Lyon St-Étienne), Université de Lyon.
  • Handle: RePEc:gat:wpaper:1716
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Matthew Ellman & Leonard Wantchekon, 2000. "Electoral Competition Under the Threat of Political Unrest," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 499-531.
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    3. Levine, David K. & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2007. "The Paradox of Voter Participation? A Laboratory Study," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 101(01), pages 143-158, February.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Laboratory experiment; Framing; Voting; Electoral fraud; Ballot box stuffng and Voter turnout;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C52 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling - - - Model Evaluation, Validation, and Selection
    • C91 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Individual Behavior
    • C92 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Laboratory, Group Behavior

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