Who's to Blame? Political Centralization and Electoral Punishment Under Authoritarianism

34 Pages Posted: 25 May 2016  

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Quintin Beazer

Florida State University

Date Written: May 18, 2016

Abstract

Does decentralization affect how voters attribute blame for poor economic performance? The question of whether political centralization ties regime leaders to local economic outcomes is particularly important in authoritarian regimes, where economic performance legitimacy is a key source of regime stability. Using political and economic data from large Russian cities for the period 2003-2012, we investigate whether replacing direct mayoral elections with appointments affects the way voters attribute blame for economic outcomes. Using a difference-in-differences design, we find that the ruling party is more likely to be punished for poor economic performance in cities with appointed mayors than it is in cities with elected mayors.

Suggested Citation

Reuter, Ora John and Beazer, Quintin, Who's to Blame? Political Centralization and Electoral Punishment Under Authoritarianism (May 18, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2783108

Ora John Reuter

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53211
United States

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Quintin Beazer (Contact Author)

Florida State University ( email )

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