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Open Access Publications from the University of California

To Rig the Rules or To Break the Rules: The Politics of Electoral Manipulation in Autocracies

  • Author(s): Noh, Yuree
  • Advisor(s): Geddes, Barbara
  • et al.
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Why do some authoritarian leaders use extensive fraud to control election results whereas others do not? In my dissertation, I identify the conditions under which dictators choose to resort to fraud or not. I argue the importance of social cohesion and citizen networks that facilitate the spread of information regarding rigged elections among citizens. Informed citizens are more likely to solve collective action porblems and mobilize themselves against against the regime. Incumbent elites fear triggering the kinds of popular uprisings that sometimes overthrow dictatorships. Consequently, they avoid using outright fraud in places where citizens are densely enmeshed in civil society associations. I test my argument using cross-national and subnational empirical evidence in addition to case studies of Algeria and Kuwait. My results also show that those autocrats who are especially dependent foreign support rely on rule manipulation that is less visible. I demonstrate that fraud accounts are negatively correlated with election rule changes, suggesting that they operate as partial substitutes in the incumbent's toolkit.

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This item is under embargo until June 1, 2020.