Partisanship in Non-Partisan Electoral Agencies and Democratic Compliance: Evidence from Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute

Electoral Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 257-271, June 2008

36 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2008 Last revised: 30 Apr 2009

See all articles by Federico Estévez

Federico Estévez

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM)

Eric Magar

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Political Science Department

Guillermo Rosas

Washington University in St. Louis

Date Written: August 10, 2007

Abstract

Scholars argue that electoral management bodies staffed by autonomous, non-partisan experts are best for producing credible and fair elections. We inspect the voting record of Mexico's Instituto Federal Electoral (IFE), an ostensibly independent bureaucratic agency regarded as extremely successful in organizing clean elections in a political system marred by fraud. We discover that the putative non-partisan experts of autonomous IFE behave as party watchdogs that represent the interests of their political party sponsors. To validate this party influence hypothesis, we examine roll-call votes cast by members of IFE's Council-General from 1996 to 2006. Aside from shedding light on IFE's failure to achieve democratic compliance in 2006, our analysis suggests that election arbiters that embrace partisan strife are quite capable of organizing free, fair, and credible elections in new democracies.

Keywords: Electoral agencies, Parties, Delegation, Ideal point estimation

JEL Classification: C11, C43, D72

Suggested Citation

Estévez, Federico and Magar, Eric and Rosas, Guillermo, Partisanship in Non-Partisan Electoral Agencies and Democratic Compliance: Evidence from Mexico's Federal Electoral Institute (August 10, 2007). Electoral Studies, Vol. 27, No. 2, pp. 257-271, June 2008, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1089095

Federico Estévez

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) ( email )

Av. Camino a Sta. Teresa 930
Col. Héroes de Padierna
Mexico City, D.F. 01000, Federal District 01080
Mexico

Eric Magar (Contact Author)

Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM) - Political Science Department ( email )

Rio Hondo 1
Col. Tizapan San-Angel
Mexico City, D.F. 01000
Mexico
525556284079 (Phone)
525554904674 (Fax)

Guillermo Rosas

Washington University in St. Louis

One Brookings Drive
Campus Box 1208
Saint Louis, MO MO 63130-4899
United States

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