Choosing from the Menu of Manipulation: Explaining Incumbents’ Choices of Electoral Manipulation Tactics
How do political actors choose between different tactics of electoral manipulation, and how does the context in which elections take place shape those decisions? In this paper we argue that choices for specific manipulative tactics are driven by available resource and cost considerations, as well as evaluations of the effectiveness of various tactics. We further argue that cost considerations are importantly shaped by the context in which elections take place, most notably by the level of democratization. We test our hypotheses on a complete time- series-cross-section dataset for 1506 elections in 160 electoral regimes around the world from 1974 to 2012. We find that democratization initially leads to increases in vote buying as “cheap” forms of electoral manipulation available to incumbents such as intimidation and manipulating electoral administration become less viable.
This research project was supported by the Australian Research Council DECRA funding scheme to Dr. Carolien van Ham, project number RG142911, project name DE150101692, and by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, Grant M13-0559:1, PI: Staffan I. Lindberg, V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg, Sweden; by Swedish Research Council, PI: Staffan I. Lindberg, V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg, Sweden and Jan Teorell, Department of Political Science, Lund University, Sweden; by Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation to Wallenberg Academy Fellow Staffan I. Lindberg, V-Dem Institute, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the Varieties of Democracy Annual Conference, Gothenburg, 26-28 May 2015; and the Annual Conference of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, 3-6 September 2015. We thank Jennifer Gandhi, Nancy Bermeo, Adam Glynn, Matthew Wilson, Staffan Darnolf, Gerald Munck, John Gerring, and other participants for their highly valuable and insightful comments. Any remaining errors are of course, our own.