It is often assumed that government-sponsored election violence increases the probability that incumbent leaders remain in power. Using cross-national data, this article shows that election violence increases the probability of incumbent victory, but can generate risky post-election dynamics. These differences in the consequences of election violence reflect changes in the strategic setting over the course of the election cycle. In the pre-election period, anti-incumbent collective action tends to be focused on the election itself, either through voter mobilization or opposition-organized election boycotts. In the post-election period, by contrast, when a favorable electoral outcome is no longer a possibility, anti-government collective action more often takes the form of mass political protest, which in turn can lead to costly repercussions for incumbent leaders.
Current scholarship on elections in authoritarian regimes has focused on exploring the relationship between elections and democratization, and it has generally used analytical frameworks and methods imported from the study of genuinely democratic elections to do so. These tendencies have kept scholars from asking a wide range of questions about the micro-level dynamics of authoritarian elections and the systematic differences among them. With these issues in mind, this review examines literature that investigates the purpose of elections in dictatorships; the electoral behavior of voters, candidates, and incumbents in these elections; and the link between elections and democratization. The review ends with a call to redirect the study of authoritarian elections toward uncovering and explaining the important differences among them.
In two experiments, children and adults rated pairs of faces from election races. Naïve adults judged a pair on competence; after playing a game, children chose who they would prefer to be captain of their boat. Children's (as well as adults') preferences accurately predicted actual election outcomes.
In the studies reported here, we conducted longitudinal analyses of preelection polling data to test whether an Ebola outbreak predicted voting intentions preceding the 2014 U.S. federal elections. Analyses were conducted on nationwide polls pertaining to 435 House of Representatives elections and on state-specific polls pertaining to 34 Senate elections. Analyses compared voting intentions before and after the initial Ebola outbreak and assessed correlations between Internet search activity for the term “Ebola” and voting intentions. Results revealed that (a) the psychological salience of Ebola was associated with increased intention to vote for Republican candidates and (b) this effect occurred primarily in states characterized by norms favoring Republican Party candidates (the effect did not occur in states with norms favoring Democratic Party candidates). Ancillary analyses addressed several interpretational issues. Overall, these results suggest that disease outbreaks may influence voter behavior in two psychologically distinct ways: increased inclination to vote for politically conservative candidates and increased inclination to conform to popular opinion.
The concept of electoral competition is relevant to a variety of research agendas in political science, yet the question of how to measure electoral competition has received little direct attention. We revisit the distinction proposed by Giovanni Sartori between competition as a structure or rule of the game and competitiveness as an outcome of that game and argue that to understand which elections can be lost (and therefore when parties and leaders are potentially threatened by electoral accountability), scholars may be better off considering the full range of elections where competition is allowed. We provide a data set of all national elections between 1945 and 2006 and a measure of whether each election event is structured such that the competition is possible. We outline the pitfalls of other measures used by scholars to define the potential for electoral competition and show that such methods can lead to biased or incomplete findings. The new global data on elections and the minimal conditions necessary for electoral competition are introduced, followed by an empirical illustration of the differences between the proposed measure of competition and existing methods used to infer the existence of competition.
We examine the determinants and consequences of voting outcomes in uncontested director elections. Exploiting a unique hand-collected data set of the rationale behind proxy advisors’ recommendations—the primary driver of voting outcomes—we document the director and board characteristics on which voting shareholders focus (as well as those that they neglect), their evolution over time, and their relative importance. Absent a negative recommendation, high votes withheld are infrequent, highlighting the agenda-setting role of proxy advisors. While high votes withheld rarely result in director turnover, our analyses show that firms often respond to an adverse vote by explicitly addressing the underlying concern. Overall, it appears that shareholders use their votes in uncontested director elections to get directors to address specific problems, rather than to vote them onto or off of the board, but they do so only on matters highlighted by the proxy advisors. The online appendix is available at https://doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.2017.2760 . This paper was accepted by Suraj Srinivasan, accounting.