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Making Outsiders’ Votes Count: Detecting Electoral Fraud Through a Natural Experiment

Kentaro Fukumoto

Gakushuin University

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

February 26, 2011

Crawford School Research Paper No. 1
American Political Science Review, Vol. 105, Issue 3, pp. 586-603, August 2011

Weak electoral registration requirements are commonly thought to encourage electoral participation, but may also promote electoral fraud. For one, candidates and their supporters can more easily mobilize voters outside the district to register and vote for the candidates, even though these voters do not reside within the district. We statistically detect this classic type of electoral fraud for the first time, by taking advantage of a natural experimental setting in Japanese municipal elections. We argue that whether or not a municipal election was held in April 2003 can be regarded as an “as-if” randomly assigned treatment. The difference-in-difference analysis of municipality-month panel data shows that an increase in the new population just prior to April 2003 is significantly larger in treatment municipalities (with an election) than in control ones (without an election). The estimated effects are, in some cases, decisive enough to change the electoral results, especially when the election is competitive. We argue that our approach – “election timing as treatment” – can be applied to investigate not only this type of electoral fraud but also other “electoral connection[s]” (Mayhew 1974) in other countries.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 50

Keywords: electoral fraud, natural experiment, local elections, Japan

JEL Classification: C90, D72

Accepted Paper Series

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Date posted: March 7, 2011 ; Last revised: September 28, 2011

Suggested Citation

Fukumoto, Kentaro and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Making Outsiders’ Votes Count: Detecting Electoral Fraud Through a Natural Experiment (February 26, 2011). Crawford School Research Paper No. 1. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1777553

Contact Information

Kentaro Fukumoto
Gakushuin University ( email )
1-5-1 Mejiro
Toshima-ku Tokyo 171-8588
HOME PAGE: http://www-cc.gakushuin.ac.jp/~e982440/index_e.htm
Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)
Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )
204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States
HOME PAGE: http://sites.dartmouth.edu/horiuchi/
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