Voting Together: Economic Adversity and Voter Turnout in Authoritarian Elections

61 Pages Posted: 23 Feb 2018

Date Written: February 14, 2018

Abstract

Why do constituents regularly vote in elections that are not competitive, or lack real choice on the ballot? Existing explanations of voting under such conditions emphasize the role of machine politics, patronage and clientelism. In contrast, we go beyond the explanations based on machine politics, and argue that under electoral authoritarianism patterns of collective voting among the electorate can motivate voter turnout, and such mobilizing effects are more apparent in larger polls. Against the predictions of the logic of patronage, economic adversity in the form of unemployment, is shown to have increased turnout in authoritarian presidential elections, but not in parliamentary ones. Furthermore, conformity tendencies in collective voting show signs of increase in support for status quo, under economic duress.

Keywords: Collective Voting, Economic Adversity, Electoral Authoritarianism, Iranian Politics, Russian Politics, Voter Turnout

JEL Classification: C23, D72, J11, N35

Suggested Citation

Mehrdad, Navid, Voting Together: Economic Adversity and Voter Turnout in Authoritarian Elections (February 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3123816 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3123816

Navid Mehrdad (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

New York, NY NY 10027
United States

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