The illicit benefits of local party alignment in national elections

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How do central politicians in young democracies secure electoral support at grass-roots level? I show that alignment with local governments is instrumental in swaying national elections through, inter alia, electoral fraud. A regression discontinuity design with Romanian local elections and a president impeachment referendum in 2012 uncovers higher referendum turnouts in localities aligned with the government coalition - the impeachment initiators. Electoral forensics tests present abnormal vote count distributions across polling stations, consistent with ballot stuffing. The alignment effect, driven by rural localities, may explain the clientelistic government transfers found in this context and documented worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461–494
Number of pages34
JournalThe Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization
Issue number3
Early online date4 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

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