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Participation in Fraudulent Elections

Dmitriy Vorobyev ()

CERGE-EI Working Papers from The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague

Abstract: I analyze a costly voting model of elections, in which the incumbent can stuff the ballot box, to investigate how electoral fraud affects the participation decisions of voters. I find that two stable equilibria may exist: first, a full abstention equilibrium, where the incumbent wins with certainty, which exists only if the incumbent's capability to stuff a ballot box is suffciently strong. Second, a more efficient coordination equilibrium, where a substantial share of a challenger's supporters vote and the probability of the incumbent being defeated is large. Since voters do not take into account positive externality they produce on other voters when deciding to cast their votes, participation in coordination equilibrium is still inefficiently low. Thus, subsidization as well as introducing compulsory voting may improve efficiency. Because the higher capability of the incumbent to stuff a ballot box discourages the participation of his own supporters and creates coordination incentives for the challenger's supporters, higher fraud does not always benefit the incumbent, even when costless. Additionally, the model simultaneously explains two empirical observations about fraudulent elections: a positive relationship between fraud and victory margin and a negative effect of fraud on turnout.

Keywords: voting; fraud; participation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014-02
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm, nep-mic and nep-pol
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