Do Dictators Signal Strength with Electoral Fraud?

62 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2016 Last revised: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Maxim Ananyev

Maxim Ananyev

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Michael Poyker

University of Nottingham, School of Economics

Date Written: May 14, 2018

Abstract

What role do elections play in nondemocracies? In this paper, we offer an empirical test of a popular idea that authoritarian governments use elections to engineer overwhelming victories thus deterring potential opposition from challenging the regime. Using the data from the Russian Parliamentary elections in 2011 and a regionally representative public opinion survey, we find that the geographical allocation of electoral manipulation was the opposite of what the theory would imply: more manipulation happened in the areas where the regime was more popular. We also find that higher margins of victory for a pro-regime party failed to deter subsequent mass protests. We argue that these empirical patterns could be better explained not by the efforts of the regime to signal invincibility, but to gather information about public preferences on the support for the regime in the most ex-ante contested areas.

Keywords: Autocracy, Elections, Electoral Fraud

JEL Classification: D72, D78

Suggested Citation

Ananyev, Maxim and Poyker, Mikhail, Do Dictators Signal Strength with Electoral Fraud? (May 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2712064 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2712064

Maxim Ananyev

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

Mikhail Poyker (Contact Author)

University of Nottingham, School of Economics ( email )

University Park
Nottingham, NG8 1BB
United Kingdom

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

Paper statistics

Downloads
222
Abstract Views
1,376
rank
168,948
PlumX Metrics