Evo Morales and Electoral Fraud in Bolivia: A Natural Experiment and Discontinuity Evidence
33 Pages Posted: 12 Dec 2019 Last revised: 27 Oct 2020
Date Written: October 15, 2020
This paper uses a unique data set and a natural experiment based on the shutdown in the official preliminary vote counting system to identify and estimate the size of electoral fraud in the 2019 Bolivian presidential elections. The 2016 Constitutional Referendum and the participation of other political parties serve as controls to estimate various difference-in-differences and difference-in-difference-in-differences specifications. The results show evidence of a statistically significant electoral case of fraud that increased the votes of the incumbent Movimiento al Socialismo and decreased the votes of the runner up Comunidad Ciudadana. We estimate that the extent of the fraud is 2.50% of valid votes, sufficient to change the outcome of the election. We report a break in trend and evidence of fraud beyond the shutdown. Our results are robust to polling-station-level shocks common across 2019 and 2016, as well as 2019 specific shocks. This controls for geography (e.g., rural vs. urban), unobserved voting preferences, voter's last names, and endogeneity in the arrival of the polling stations. We document a statistically significant discontinuous jump in the gap between the incumbent and the runner up during the shutdown.
Keywords: Electoral Fraud, Natural Experiment, Bolivia, Evo Morales
JEL Classification: C21, D72, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation