Does Electoral Manipulation Discourage Voter Turnout? Evidence from Mexico
University of Chicago
April 28, 2012
Journal of Politics, Forthcoming
Does electoral manipulation reduce voter turnout? The question is central to the study of political behavior in many electoral systems and to current debates on electoral reform. Nevertheless, existing evidence suggests contradictory answers. This paper clarifies the theoretical relationship between electoral manipulation and turnout by drawing some simple conceptual distinctions, and presents new empirical evidence from Mexico. The deep electoral reforms in 1990s Mexico provide a hitherto-unexploited opportunity to estimate the effect of electoral manipulation on turnout. The empirical strategy makes use of variation over time and across the states of Mexico in turnout and in electoral manipulation. The analysis finds that electoral manipulation under the PRI discouraged citizens from voting. Conceptually, the paper shows that true and reported turnout need not move in the same direction, nor respond in the same way to electoral manipulation.
Keywords: Voter Turnout, Electoral Manipulation, Election Fraud, Mexico, PRI
JEL Classification: D71, D72, D73Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 28, 2012
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