To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure firstname.lastname@example.org
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
In many elections around the world, voters choose between politicians who differ not only in personal background and policy promises, but also in their history of dishonest electoral conduct. While recent literature has begun to investigate the conditions under which voters punish electoral malfeasance, we know relatively little about whether they penalize different forms of illicit activities carried out by politicians differently. In this paper, we present the results of a candidate choice experiment embedded in a survey fielded prior to the 2016 Romanian local election. We asked voters to choose between two hypothetical candidates, randomly varying several attributes, including different illicit electoral activities. We find that citizens tolerate some forms of political malfeasance less than others depending on how much that malfeasance infringes on voters' autonomy. Informational campaigns carried out by prosecutorial agencies also affect how much voters punish different illicit exchanges.
Liberal democracy is often viewed by its supporters as a system of government that responds to the informed and rational preferences of the public organized as voters. And liberal democracy is often viewed by its critics as a system that fails to respond to the informed and rational preferences of its citizens. In this book Larry Bartels and Chris Achen draw on decades of research to argue that a “realistic” conception of democracy cannot be centered on the idea of a “rational voter,” and that the ills of contemporary democracies, and especially democracy in the U.S., must be sought in the dynamics that link voters, political parties and public policy in ways that reproduce inequality. “We believe,” write the authors, “that abandoning the folk theory of democracy is a prerequisite to both greater intellectual clarity and real political change. Too many democratic reformers have squandered their energy on misguided or quixotic ideas.”
This article examines electoral intimidation of voters at their workplace in contemporary new democracies. What is the relative importance of workplace intimidation in the broader portfolio of clientelistic strategies used by politicians at times of elections? What explains the subnational variation in the incidence of this electoral strategy? We answer these questions using empirical evidence from two East European countries – Romania and Bulgaria. We assess the prevalence of non-programmatic electoral mobilization in these countries by using list experiments, a survey methodology that elicits unbiased and truthful responses to sensitive political questions. We find that in both countries, workplace intimidation is an important component in the repertoire of non-programmatic mobilization used at election times. Workplace intimidation is especially pervasive in localities dominated by a small number of large employers. The importance of economic intimidation in the portfolio of clientelistic strategies declines as the economic heterogeneity of the locality increases.
Chapters 3–5 demonstrated the existence of pervasive intimidation in German national elections to the Reichstag. Although electoral law mandated universal, direct, secret, and equal suffrage, it provided insufficient protections for voters to cast their votes freely. As a result, core principles of the electoral law were systematically violated in everyday electoral practices. As Heinrich Rickert, one of the German politicians who relentlessly pushed for the adoption of additional electoral reforms, argued: “The freedom of the vote is a guarantee of one of the most important constitutional provisions in Germany. It is the foundation of our constitutional life. If we do not provide sufficient guarantees for it, then our public life will be based on hypocrisy, on pressure, and on force, and those have never led to a good outcome” (Stenographische Berichte des Deutschen Reichstages January 15, 1896).
This violation of the cornerstone of German constitutional life to which Rickert referred resulted from two distinct factors. The first were imperfections in voting technology. As the previous chapters demonstrated, imperfections in the design of the ballot and the design of the urn allowed representatives of political parties to “pierce” the veil of secrecy of the vote and observe the electoral choices made by voters. Second, economic inequalities that increased the dependency of voters on their employers amplified the consequences of these irregularities in voting technology. These economic conditions lowered the costs of electoral repression for employers and increased the credibility of their threat to harshly punish voters who made “incorrect” electoral choices. Economic dependence also undermined the willingness of individual voters to risk their livelihoods by casting different ballots from the ones handed to them by their employers. This combination of institutional imperfections in the electoral code and economic inequalities in the labor market explains the persistence of electoral pressure in German elections.
The goal of this chapter is to examine political efforts to reform electoral institutions and to ensure greater protection of electoral secrecy.
The expansion of suffrage and the introduction of elections are momentous political changes that represent only the first steps in the process of democratization. In the absence of institutions that protect the electoral autonomy of voters against a range of actors who seek to influence voting decisions, political rights can be just hollow promises. This book examines the adoption of electoral reforms that protected the autonomy of voters during elections and sought to minimize undue electoral influences over decisions made at the ballot box. Empirically, it focuses on the adoption of reforms protecting electoral secrecy in Imperial Germany during the period between 1870 and 1912. Empirically, the book provides a micro-historical analysis of the democratization of electoral practices, by showing how changes in district level economic and political conditions contributed to the formation of an encompassing political coalition supporting the adoption of electoral reforms.
The literature on the origin and development of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) is vast. The puzzle about the steady increase in electoral strength of a party whose voters were subjected to systematic harassment and intimidation throughout the political history of the Empire has fueled the imaginations of every generation of historians and political scientists. What explains the rise in electoral strength of the SPD, and how did it become the largest political party in the Reich? I draw on a wealth of new economic data unavailable to previous scholars in order to reexamine this classic research question in comparative politics.
An analysis of the cross-sectional and temporal variation in the electoral strength of the SPD allows me to test a range of additional observable implications of the theoretical framework developed in this book. The first part of the book (Chapters 1–4) developed a number of hypotheses about the relationship between economic and political conditions in German districts and the “costs of electoral repression” encountered by private actors. I showed that the costs were higher in districts characterized by high levels of economic heterogeneity. The costs of electoral intimidation for state employees – such as policemen and tax collectors – also varied significantly across districts and were higher in districts characterized by high levels of political fragmentation among right- wing parties, where the outcome of a race was determined in runoffs. This chapter explores an additional observable implication of this analysis: I examine the factors that affected the variation in the willingness of voters to take political and economic risks by supporting opposition candidates. The corollary of the empirical findings presented in the first part of this book is that political support for Social Democratic candidates should be higher in districts where state employees and private actors faced higher relative costs of electoral intimidation.
The absence of economic freedom leads to the absence of political freedom.
(Dr. Förster, Neustettin, Stenographische Berichte des Deutschen Reichstages May 15, 1895: 2290)
Chapter 3 documented the existence of a wide variety of strategies of electoral intimidation carried out by employees of the state. In addition to policemen and tax collectors, private economic actors also played a dominant role as agents of electoral intimidation. During elections, companies turned into political battlegrounds. Private actors mobilized voters at the workplace, regimented them in columns, and marched them to the polls. Supervisory personnel of these companies ensured that voters entered the precinct equipped with the “correct” ballots. Employer representatives located in close proximity to the voting place maintained voting counter-lists (Gegenlisten) that recorded the electoral choices made by each and every employee. Using this information, employers engaged in post-electoral reprisals by punishing voters who had made incorrect electoral choices. Among the strategies of post-electoral punishments used by employers, the strategy that imposed the highest costs on voters involved being laid off for having made the wrong electoral choice.
In this chapter, I draw on the historical evidence presented in the electoral reports of the parliamentary commission charged with examining electoral irregularities to document pre- and post-electoral strategies used by private economic actors and the regional and temporal variation in these strategies. The main source of my analysis is a subset of reports on electoral fraud, which comprises 15 percent of the contested elections of the period. Using this subset of the total number of electoral reports, I code in greater detail whether instances of electoral intimidation by employers were present and the types of strategies used by private actors in elections. This qualitative evidence allows me to disaggregate the incidences of intimidation across different stages of the electoral process and examine when voters were most vulnerable to pressure from employers.
During much of the nineteenth century, the electoral marketplace in many European countries exhibited ample imperfections. At the time, electoral politics was not significantly different from the politics one encounters today in many developing countries that have recently undergone democratic transitions. In their attempts to sway voters, parties and candidates combined promises of policy benefits with a variety of non-programmatic strategies. These non-programmatic strategies included a mix of positive and negative inducements. Candidates campaigned by offering money, food, or entertainment to voters. In addition to these positive inducements, electoral intimidation, pressure, and harassment were amply used during elections. Policemen, tax collectors, and other local notables were deployed to influence the decisions of voters to support particular candidates. Imperfections in voting technology allowed candidates and their agents to engage in intense monitoring of the political choices made by voters and to punish the latter for undesirable political choices. Such threats of post-electoral punishments were highly credible because of ample imperfections in voting technology.
In many countries, political dissatisfaction with these electoral practices gave rise to efforts to curb electoral irregularities and enhance the political freedom of voters. These reforms centered on the dimension of electoral rules exhibiting the most significant imperfections: the technology of voting. Improvements in the design of the ballot and the design of the urn were regarded as central elements in the broader agenda to complete the unfinished democratic project. Consider the statements of Paul Constans, a French deputy who supported a proposal to adopt electoral reforms protecting voter secrecy:
Through these legislative changes we will not be able to eliminate the force of money – namely, the influence of the capitalist plutocracy and of the employers. But what we ask is very modest and will not modify the essential laws – there will be a moment later when we will do this. Right now, we are asking you to support these measures to liberate the voter, who is subjected to many types of influences and to allow him to express his will freely, with more freedom than the current situation permits.
The improvement in the protection of electoral secrecy had far-reaching consequences for political competition in German elections to the Reichstag. These changes in the electoral law reduced the opportunities for electoral intimidation. By emboldening voters to take electoral risks, the Rickert law made possible the spectacular political growth of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) during the final elections of the period. These gains for Social Democrats came at the expense of parties on the right. Because of the reduction in their ability to monitor voters' choices, many candidates on the right lost districts that had previously been their electoral strongholds.
This chapter investigates the implications of the changes in electoral competition for German parties on the right. My analysis focuses on one dimension of electoral competition that was salient for parties rather than candidates: the ability of parties to translate votes into parliamentary seats. I find that the Rickert law affected parties on the right in different ways depending on the district-level distribution of their support. Those right-wing parties whose voters were concentrated in particular regions – such as the Zentrum or the Conservatives – experienced no changes in the vote-seat proportionality in the aftermath of the Rickert law. The situation was entirely different for other right- wing parties, such as the National Liberals and Free Liberals. The ability of these parties to convert their votes into parliamentary seats deteriorated dramatically during the elections that were held after the adoption of the Rickert law and the onset of World War I.
This worsening of the relationship between the votes won by individual candidates and the number of seats held by representatives of the respective parties in the Reichstag led to an intense search by politicians for a solution that could allow their parties to survive electorally in the changed electoral landscape. In the process, the positions of several parties about questions of electoral reform experienced a gradual change.
Efforts to reform electoral institutions and reduce opportunities for political intimidation were not confined to national elections only; they were also on the agenda of subnational parliaments throughout the period until World War I. Electoral rules differed significantly across German regions (Mares and Queralt 2014). Many regions had much more restrictive suffrage rules than those in place at the national level. In these electoral systems, political efforts to end opportunities for electoral intimidation and provide stronger guarantees for voters' political autonomy went hand in hand with efforts to reform other dimensions of the electoral system. These included changes in the method of voting (from secret voting to open voting) and efforts to replace indirect voting with direct voting.
In this chapter, I examine political conflicts over the adoption of electoral reforms aiming to reduce opportunities for electoral intimidation in Prussia. Prussia was the largest state of the German Empire, and it comprised nearly two-thirds of the territory of Imperial Germany. Proposals to reform the electoral system along the dimensions discussed above were on the agenda of the Prussian lower house beginning in 1872. This chapter examines a quantitative analysis of the roll call votes on a subset of such bills in order to understand the economic and political determinants of support for changes in electoral rules and the composition of the political coalitions supporting reforms.
The study of electoral reforms in Prussia provides us with an ideal opportunity to reevaluate one of the most prominent explanations of democratization, which stresses the importance of rural inequality as an obstacle to electoral reform. Beginning with Alexander Gerschenkron and Barrington Moore, accounts of Germany's Sonderweg have invoked rural inequality as a factor that inhibited the adoption of democratic reforms (Gerschenkron 1946; Moore 1966). This explanation dovetails with recent theoretical accounts of democratization that emphasize how inequalities in the distribution of fixed assets act as barriers to democratic reforms (Acemoglu and Robison 2000; Boix 2003).
The authority of the state is powerful in the hands of each person, also in the hands of the last night watchman and policeman.
(Eduard Lasker, Stenographische Berichte des Reichstages April 17, 1871)
This chapter begins the empirical investigation of the production of electoral irregularities in German elections by analyzing the variation in electoral irregularities perpetrated by employees of the state. Electoral intimidation by state employees was pervasive in German national elections. The majority of the petitions submitted to the electoral commission of the Reichstag invoked electoral irregularities committed by employees of the state (Klein 2003). The ubiquitous presence of state employees as well as the brutal nature of their harassment and intimidation of voters added an unusually harsh character to nineteenth-century German elections. The identities of the employees of the state that supplied electoral services to politicians varied significantly across German regions. In Prussia, Landräte and policemen played a pervasive role in elections. The former cumulated important political responsibilities, serving as both the collectors of taxes (and assessors of tax liabilities) and making decisions on who was conscripted into the Prussian army. In Saxony, a region that experienced very high levels of electoral irregularities, policemen were ubiquitous in elections. By contrast, in southern German states such as Baden or Württemberg, where the electoral intervention by public employees was lower, mayors were the actors who occasionally trespassed against the provisions of the electoral law and engaged in the electoral intimidation of voters.
I begin this chapter by developing a number of hypotheses about the political considerations of politicians and employees of the state, and the incentives for the former to demand and the latter to supply electoral services conflicting with the provisions of the electoral code. In particular, I examine the relationship between political competition and the production of intimidation in German national elections.
In prewar Germany, a silent process of democratization took place during the final decades of the nineteenth century. This process unfolded through a series of piecemeal reforms of the administration of elections that attempted to provide better protection of voter autonomy. Questions about the size of the ballot, the size of the urn, the location of the urn in the voting place, and whether election officials should shake urns before counting ballots carried large political weight. Both opponents and supporters of changes in electoral institutions understood that these micro-regulations in the administration of the electoral process had profound consequences not only for political competition and the relative strength of different parties, but also for more abstract ideals such as electoral freedom.
Empirically, this book examined how this process of electoral reform un- folded in Germany between 1870 and 1912. The adoption of reforms in this electoral authoritarian context resulted from the confluence of two distinct transformations. First, economic changes such as labor scarcity and increases in economic heterogeneity raised the costs of electoral intimidation for private actors. Secondly, in political terms, the rise in strength of parties that lacked access to the repressive state apparatus and to the economic actors with the means to engage in electoral intimidation contributed to an increase in the size of the electoral coalition that supported reforms. The adoption of legislation that protected electoral secrecy, I showed, had important consequences for the rise in political strength of the largest opposition party: the Social Democrats. These reforms also had more indirect consequences for different parties on the right and facilitated the formation of an electoral coalition supporting the adoption of proportional representation.
In what follows, I consider and reflect on the contributions made in this book and their consequences for other cases of democratization. I begin in Section 10.1 by discussing the broader methodological contribution of this study to comparative historical analysis.