Signaling Games of Election Fraud

64 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2016

See all articles by Kirill Kalinin

Kirill Kalinin

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace

Date Written: August 15, 2016


This paper introduces a novel theoretic approach towards understanding election fraud under autocracies, by suggesting a signaling model of election fraud and testing its basic implications on unique datasets from Russian and cross-national settings. According to the theory, the heads of subnational units can send their signals about loyalty to the leader by means of fraudulently augmented turnout or incumbent's vote percentages. These signaling patterns are related to an excess of 0s and 5s in the last digit of turnout and percentage of incumbent's voter support. In return, the local agents are rewarded by the leader with the larger amounts of postelectoral fiscal transfers. Basic implications from the formal model are supported by empirical data analysis: as the proportion of 0s and 5s increases the amount of postelectoral transfers also increases, both in Russia and worldwide.

Keywords: signaling game, election fraud, Russia, transfers

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

Kalinin, Kirill, Signaling Games of Election Fraud (August 15, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Kirill Kalinin (Contact Author)

Stanford University - The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-6010
United States

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