Why Do States Intervene in the Elections of Others? The Role of Incumbent-Opposition Divisions

57 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2019 Last revised: 30 Jan 2020

See all articles by Johannes Bubeck

Johannes Bubeck

Deutsche Bundesbank

Kai Jäger

University of London - Department of Political Economy; University of Mannheim - Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES)

Nikolay Marinov

University of Houston - Department of Political Science

Federico Nanni

Data and Web Science Group

Date Written: January 29, 2020

Abstract

Why do states intervene in elections abroad? We argue that outsiders intervene when the main domestic contenders for office adopt policy positions that differ from the point of view of the outside power. We refer to the split between the government’s and opposition’s positions as policy polarization. Polarization between domestic political forces, rather than the degree of unfriendliness of the government in office, is what attracts interventions of two types: process (for or against democracy) and candidate (for or against the government) interventions. We provide a novel, original data set to track the policy positions of local contenders. We show that the new policy polarization measurement outperforms a number of available alternatives when it comes to explaining process and candidate interventions. We use it to explain the behavior of the United States as an intervener in elections over the period 1945 to 2012. The United States is more likely to support the opposition, and the democratic process abroad, if a pro-US opposition is facing an anti-US government. It is is more likely to support the government, and undermine the democratic process abroad, if a pro-US government is facing an anti-US opposition. We also present results for all interveners, confirming the results from the US case.

Keywords: election interventions

Suggested Citation

Bubeck, Johannes and Jäger, Kai and Marinov, Nikolay and Nanni, Federico, Why Do States Intervene in the Elections of Others? The Role of Incumbent-Opposition Divisions (January 29, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3435138 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3435138

Johannes Bubeck

Deutsche Bundesbank

Wilhelm-Epstein-Str. 14
Frankfurt/Main, 60431
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/johannesbubeck

Kai Jäger

University of London - Department of Political Economy ( email )

Strand Building
London
United Kingdom

University of Mannheim - Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) ( email )

D-68131 Mannheim
Germany

Nikolay Marinov (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

TX 77204-3011
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nikolaymarinov.com

Federico Nanni

Data and Web Science Group ( email )

Germany

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