In the shadow of democracy promotion: Strategic manipulation, international observers, and election boycotts

Emily Beaulieu, Susan D. Hyde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations

Abstract

International efforts to promote democracy can have unanticipated effects. International election observation is perceived to increase domestic confidence in the electoral process and reduce fraud. Conversely, election boycotts are perceived to be more likely as electoral fairness decreases. The authors document a puzzling relationship between monitored elections and opposition party boycotts: Observers are associated with an increased boycott probability. They argue that international benefits for democratic elections give electoral autocrats the incentive to invite international observers and manipulate elections to minimize international criticism. This increase in "strategic manipulationg" has led to changed incentives for opposition political parties, which have the most to lose from a manipulated but internationally certified election. Consequently, international monitors increase boycott probability. The authors support this explanation with an original data set of elections, boycotts, and international observers (1990 to 2002).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)392-415
Number of pages24
JournalComparative Political Studies
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009

Keywords

  • Boycotts
  • Democracy promotion
  • Democratization
  • Elections
  • International observers
  • Second-image reversed

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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