Signaling Games of Election Fraud
64 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2016
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
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