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He Who Counts Elects: Determinants of Fraud in the 1922 Colombian Presidential Election


  • Isaías N. Chaves
  • Leopoldo Fergusson
  • James A. Robinson


This paper constructs measures of the extent of ballot stuffing (fraudulent votes) and electoral coercion at the municipal level using data from Colombia's 1922 Presidential elections. Our main findings are that the presence of the state reduced the extent of ballot stuffing, but that of the clergy, which was closely imbricated in partisan politics, increased coercion. We also show that landed elites to some extent substituted for the absence of the state and managed to reduce the extent of fraud where they were strong. At the same time, in places which were completely out of the sphere of the state, and thus partisan politics, both ballot stuffing and coercion were relatively low. Thus the relationship between state presence and fraud is not monotonic.

Suggested Citation

  • Isaías N. Chaves & Leopoldo Fergusson & James A. Robinson, 2009. "He Who Counts Elects: Determinants of Fraud in the 1922 Colombian Presidential Election," NBER Working Papers 15127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15127
    Note: POL

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Assar Lindbeck & Jörgen Weibull, 1987. "Balanced-budget redistribution as the outcome of political competition," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 52(3), pages 273-297, January.
    2. Nichter, Simeon, 2008. "Vote Buying or Turnout Buying? Machine Politics and the Secret Ballot," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 102(1), pages 19-31, February.
    3. Camilo García Jimeno, 2005. "Colonial Institutions And Long-Run Economic Performance In Colombia: Is There Evidence Of Persistence?," Documentos CEDE 2152, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    4. Acemoglu,Daron & Robinson,James A., 2009. "Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521671422.
    5. Jean-Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2008. "Land and Power: Theory and Evidence from Chile," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1737-1765, December.
    6. Stokes, Susan C., 2005. "Perverse Accountability: A Formal Model of Machine Politics with Evidence from Argentina," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 99(3), pages 315-325, August.
    7. Ziblatt, Daniel, 2009. "Shaping Democratic Practice and the Causes of Electoral Fraud: The Case of Nineteenth-Century Germany," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 103(1), pages 1-21, February.
    8. Eddie Dekel & Matthew O. Jackson & Asher Wolinsky, 2008. "Vote Buying: General Elections," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(2), pages 351-380, April.
    9. Jean‐Marie Baland & James A. Robinson, 2012. "The Political Value of Land: Political Reform and Land Prices in Chile," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 56(3), pages 601-619, July.
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    RePEc Biblio mentions

    As found on the RePEc Biblio, the curated bibliography for Economics:
    1. > Economic History > Regional Economic History > Latin American Economic History > Economic History of Colombia


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    Cited by:

    1. Diego Jara & Felipe Parra & Alvaro Riascos & Mauricio Romero, 2011. "Análisis digital y detección de elecciones atípicas," Documentos CEDE 9064, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    2. Daron Acemoglu & James A. Robinson & Rafael J. Santos, 2013. "The Monopoly Of Violence: Evidence From Colombia," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 11, pages 5-44, January.

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