The Single-Party Dictator’s Dilemma Information in Elections Without Opposition

58 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2010

See all articles by Edmund J. Malesky

Edmund J. Malesky

Duke University, Political Science

Paul J. Schuler

University of Arizona

Date Written: August 31, 2010

Abstract

The literature on authoritarian institutions points to nationwide elections as a mechanism for learning about the preferences of citizens. In using elections in this way, however, authoritarians face a tradeoff between gathering reliable information and guaranteeing electoral victory. In this paper, we explore how single-party regimes manage this tradeoff and the particular types of information available to them. Using candidate-level data from Vietnam, we demonstrate that single-party regimes, in particular, forsake information on overall regime support and strength of opposition in favor of information on the popularity of local notables and the compliance of local officials with central mandates. In addition, we show that ex-ante electioneering is less risky than ex-post fraud at achieving these goals.

Suggested Citation

Malesky, Edmund J. and Schuler, Paul J., The Single-Party Dictator’s Dilemma Information in Elections Without Opposition (August 31, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1669700 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1669700

Edmund J. Malesky (Contact Author)

Duke University, Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Paul J. Schuler

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

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