Information Acquisition and Projecting Invincibility in Authoritarian Elections

56 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2016 Last revised: 17 May 2018

See all articles by Maxim Ananyev

Maxim Ananyev

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science

Michael Poyker

Columbia Business School

Date Written: May 14, 2018

Abstract

What role do elections play in nondemocracies? We propose an empirical test that can distinguish between two major families of theories on authoritarian elections: that elections can be used to maintain an image of invincibility of the regime (Influence Theory), and that elections can be used to get information about the popularity of the regime (Information Theory). While these theories might not be mutually exclusive, we show that they generate different predictions about the spatial allocation of electoral manipulations. Under the Influence Theory, electoral manipulations happen in areas where the potential for a successful protest is high. Under the Information Theory, electoral manipulation should happen only in places where the potential for a successful protest is low. Using data from the 2011 parliamentary election in Russia and a regionally representative public opinion survey from one of the Kremlin's pollsters conducted before the election, we find that electoral manipulations were more likely to happen in regions where the level of protest potential is lower. When the protest potential goes up by 10 percentage points, the estimates of electoral manipulation in a subsequent election go down by a half of their standard deviation, thus corroborating the Information Theory.

Keywords: Autocracy, Elections, Electoral Fraud

JEL Classification: D72, D78

Suggested Citation

Ananyev, Maxim and Poyker, Mikhail, Information Acquisition and Projecting Invincibility in Authoritarian Elections (May 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2712064 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2712064

Maxim Ananyev

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Political Science ( email )

Los Angeles, CA
United States

Mikhail Poyker (Contact Author)

Columbia Business School ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.poykerm.com

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