International Scrutiny and Pre-Electoral Fiscal Manipulation in Developing Countries

The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72, No. 3, pp. 690-704

Posted: 9 May 2008 Last revised: 20 Dec 2011

See all articles by Susan D. Hyde

Susan D. Hyde

University of California, Berkeley

Angela O'Mahony

University of British Columbia (UBC)

Date Written: July 1, 2010

Abstract

Pre-electoral fiscal manipulation - spending more or taxing less prior to an election - is an important tool that governments may use to enhance their chances for reelection. This article examines how international political scrutiny (in the form of international election monitoring) and international economic scrutiny (in the form of IMF agreements) constrain governments' decisions to engage in pre-electoral fiscal manipulation. Using data from 1990-2004 on fiscal manipulation, competitive elections, IMF agreements, and international election monitoring, the evidence suggests strong support for the argument that international scrutiny constrains government decision making; pre-electoral fiscal manipulation is most likely when incumbents are subject to international political scrutiny from election monitors, but are not subject to international economic scrutiny resulting from an IMF agreement. The results are robust to alternative specifications, and suggest that leaders of developing countries are more constrained in their policy choices than suggested by the existing literature.

Keywords: Pre-electoral fiscal manipulation, election observation, elections in developing countries

Suggested Citation

Hyde, Susan D. and O'Mahony, Angela, International Scrutiny and Pre-Electoral Fiscal Manipulation in Developing Countries (July 1, 2010). The Journal of Politics, Vol. 72, No. 3, pp. 690-704. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1128984

Susan D. Hyde (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
5106424533 (Phone)

Angela O'Mahony

University of British Columbia (UBC) ( email )

2329 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia BC V6T 1Z4
Canada

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