Elections With Candidate Filtering and Two Mechanisms of Demobilization Effect: The Prologue to Hong Kong’s Authoritarian Turn

34 Pages Posted: 10 May 2021 Last revised: 24 Jan 2022

See all articles by Ka Ming Chan

Ka Ming Chan

Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science

Ka Lun Ng

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - Division of Social Science

Date Written: May 9, 2021

Abstract

Previous studies of electoral authoritarianism identified that manipulations demobilize opposition supporters. Yet, less is known about whether radicals are more prone to abstention than moderates in manipulated elections. To answer this question, we disentangle two mechanisms of demobilization effect—the efficacy mechanism and the electoral supply mechanism—that have different expectations on the turnout rate of radicals and moderates. Our research leverages the disqualification controversy in Hong Kong in 2016, after which radical candidates who advocate self-determination or independence were filtered out from the electoral market. Using both aggregate-level and individual-level data, our analysis shows that a substantive demobilization effect exists. Crucially, we find that radicals and moderates are demobilized to a similar extent, and the decreases in perceived electoral fairness and importance of voting are similar between the two factions. These findings suggest that the efficacy mechanism is a more plausible explanation of the demobilization effect. Overall, this study extends our understanding of voting behavior and political attitude of opposition supporters in face of autocratization.

Keywords: electoral authoritarianism; demobilization; candidate filtering; radicals and moderates; autocratization

Suggested Citation

Chan, Ka Ming and Ng, Ka Lun, Elections With Candidate Filtering and Two Mechanisms of Demobilization Effect: The Prologue to Hong Kong’s Authoritarian Turn (May 9, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3842416 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3842416

Ka Ming Chan (Contact Author)

Geschwister Scholl Institute of Political Science ( email )

Munich
Germany

Ka Lun Ng

Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST) - Division of Social Science ( email )

Division of Social Science
Clear Water Bay
Clear Water Bay, Kowloon
Hong Kong

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