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Browsing by Subject "vaaliautokratia"

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  • Inkinen, Saara (2012)
    Most authoritarian regimes now organise national-level elections that allow the opposition to compete against the dictator for political power, albeit on unfair and unequal terms. Although the dictator seeks to contain this element of competition in order to thwart opposition victories and enforce his own rule, the decision to organise competitive elections ultimately rests the fate of electoral authoritarian regimes in the hands of the voters. By deciding to cast their ballots either for the dictator or the opposition, individual voters determine the degree of electoral competitiveness – the margin of victory between the dictator and his challengers – and, consequently, whether the elections lead to continued authoritarian rule or potential democratisation. Yet, with the literature predominantly focusing on authoritarian elections from the perspective of the dictator and the opposition, the question of how and why heterogeneous voters make diverging choices at the polls remains poorly understood. Using Beatriz Magaloni’s theory of voter behaviour under electoral authoritarianism, this thesis explores how the electorate’s socio-demographic heterogeneity translates into conflicting preferences, thus giving rise to different types of voting behaviours that lead the voters to either support or oppose the dictator, and what the consequences of this heterogeneity are for the degree of electoral competitiveness at the aggregate level. The relationship between voter heterogeneity and the degree of electoral competitiveness is tested empirically by employing a random effects regression analysis on time-series cross-sectional data that cover the universe of competitive authoritarian elections held at the national level from 1974 to 2006. Based on this analysis, the author shows the composition of the electorate to be systematically linked to the degree of competitiveness, with the voter’s ethnic affiliation and level of income operating as the primary factors mediating vote choice alongside economic growth. The findings are furthermore found to be robust to a number of alternative explanations that involve the strategies of the dictator and the opposition. Finally, the thesis discusses some of the problems and broader implications of the analysis for the study of electoral authoritarian regimes and electoral competitiveness.