Understanding Electoral Frauds Through Evolution of Russian Federalism: The Emergence of ‘Signaling Loyalty’
46 Pages Posted: 30 Nov 2010 Last revised: 11 Sep 2015
Date Written: March 1, 2012
We argue that the pattern of fraudulent elections in Russia can be explained by combining ideas about federalism with a formal signaling game model. We argue that the changing pattern of electoral frauds from the mid-1990s to the 2000s can be explained by changes in rational strategies of regional governors tied to the evolution of Russian federal relations. While in the mid-1990s Russian governors provided the center with favorable electoral outcomes in exchange for political, institutional and financial resources, in the 2000s political recentralization led governors to send signals about their loyalty to the Center by means of fraudulently augmented turnout, receiving certain rewards in exchange, such as postelectoral fiscal transfers. The argument is supported by statistical analysis of empirical data.
Keywords: Russia, elections, electoral frauds, falsifications, turnout, signaling, bargaining, governors, last digit
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