Voting or Abstaining in 'Managed' Elections? A Field Experiment in Bangladesh

38 Pages Posted: 8 May 2020

See all articles by Firoz Ahmed

Firoz Ahmed

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Roland Hodler

University of St. Gallen; University of Oxford; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Asad Islam

Monash University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2020

Abstract

Many governments in weak democracies countries "manage" the electoral process to make their defeat very unlikely. We aim to understand why citizens decide to vote or abstain in managed elections. We focus on the 2018 general election in Bangladesh and randomize the salience of the citizens' views (i) that election outcomes matter for policy outcomes and (ii) that high voting participation increases the winning party's legitimacy. These treatments increase voting participation in government strongholds and decrease participation in opposition strongholds. The legitimacy treatment has stronger effects. These results have important implications for get-out-the-vote and information campaigns in weak democracies.

Keywords: Bangladesh, Electoral authoritarianism, field experiment, managed/authoritarian elections, voting behavior

JEL Classification: C93, D72

Suggested Citation

Ahmed, Firoz and Hodler, Roland and Islam, Asadul, Voting or Abstaining in 'Managed' Elections? A Field Experiment in Bangladesh (April 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14608, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3594230

Firoz Ahmed (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Roland Hodler

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Varnbuelstr. 14
Saint Gallen, St. Gallen CH-9000
Switzerland

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Asadul Islam

Monash University - Department of Economics ( email )

Department of Economics
Monash University
Caulfield East, Victoria
Australia
+61399032783 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://users.monash.edu/~asaduli/

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