Does Electoral Manipulation Discourage Voter Turnout? Evidence from Mexico

Journal of Politics, Forthcoming

34 Pages Posted: 28 Apr 2012 Last revised: 20 Jul 2014

Date Written: February 2, 2012


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, D73

Suggested Citation

Simpser, Alberto, Does Electoral Manipulation Discourage Voter Turnout? Evidence from Mexico (February 2, 2012). Journal of Politics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Alberto Simpser (Contact Author)

ITAM ( email )

Rio Hondo 1
Mexico City, CDMX 01080
+525556284000 (Phone)


Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics