Why Electoral Malpractices Generate Pressures for Electoral Reform: An Agenda-Setting Model

38 Pages Posted: 15 Jul 2012 Last revised: 10 Aug 2012

See all articles by Pippa Norris

Pippa Norris

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS); University of Sydney

Date Written: 2012


Do electoral malpractices strengthen public pressures for reform? The study develops an agenda-setting model postulating that where flawed elections fail to meet international standards of electoral integrity, this colors public perceptions of electoral malpractices, undermines feelings of political legitimacy, dampens voter turnout, and encourages protest politics. To support these claims, Part I sets out the theoretical framework and core propositions. Part II outlines the research design, data, and indices. Data is drawn from a new battery of survey evidence measuring perceptions of electoral integrity and malpractices, included for the first time in the 6th wave of the World Values Survey 2010-2012 (WVS).

The results in Part III confirm that public perceptions of electoral integrity closely reflect independent assessments of the quality of elections in the countries under comparison. Moreover, lack of confidence in elections undermines feelings of political legitimacy and encourages protest activism.

The conclusion in Part IV theorizes that this process strengthens the likelihood that elites will respond to popular pressures, although the outcome may be democratic concessions, or state repression, or regime transitions, depending upon the type of regime.

Suggested Citation

Norris, Pippa, Why Electoral Malpractices Generate Pressures for Electoral Reform: An Agenda-Setting Model (2012). APSA 2012 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2108023

Pippa Norris (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-1475 (Phone)
617-496-2850 (Fax)

University of Sydney ( email )

University of Sydney
Sydney, NC NSW 2006

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