Year of Graduation
Catch Me if You Can: Election Manipulation in Non-democracies
Joint HSE-NES Undergraduate Program in Economics
Election manipulations are often considered as an integral part of non-democracies and an essential procedure for an incumbent who wants to stay in power. This paper is based on the fact that an incumbent in non-democratic countries has a more effective and durable source of power – political terror. Using a theoretical model, I show that repressions and election fraud appear to be substitutes rather than complements and explore how the effect of political terror accumulates over the time, making election manipulations excessive. The empirical part of the paper exploits the data of election monitoring missions from 1960 to 2014 and shows that a unit increase in political terror scale raises the probability of election fairness by 11 percentage points. Using random forest algorithm, I show that systematic political terror as a method of securing elections' results is mostly used in hybrid regimes. Though a presence of Western observers on elections plausibly affects democratic transitions in many countries, their estimates of election fairness often do not tell much about the real level of democratic development.