Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 7 > Issue 3

Elections, Fraud, and Election Monitoring in the Shadow of Revolution

Andrew T. Little, Department of Politics, New York University, USA, andrew.little@nyu.edu
Suggested Citation
Andrew T. Little (2012), "Elections, Fraud, and Election Monitoring in the Shadow of Revolution", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 7: No. 3, pp 249-283. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00011078

Publication Date: 19 Jun 2012
© 2012 A. T. Little
Electoral institutions,  Autocracy,  International organizations


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In this article:
Extant Work 
The Model 
Fraud and Election Monitoring 
Appendix: Complete Derivations and Proofs 


Elections are modeled as a public signal in an incomplete information game of revolution. By changing beliefs about the general level of anti-regime sentiment, elections can make citizens more or less apt to rebel and hence make a successful revolution more or less likely. This effect makes elections valuable to incumbents that are not secure in office as they have more to gain by good results than they have to lose from bad results. Electoral fraud is modeled as a distortion of the public signal, and election monitoring is incorporated as changing the cost of this distortion. In equilibrium, citizens discount the distortion, so the average protest size and probability of revolution are the same as when the incumbent cannot commit fraud. This makes election monitoring valuable to incumbents as it ties their hands and lowers the equilibrium amount of fraud. So, elections may be held that would not occur in the absence of monitoring.