Winning Proposal to the Pierce Scholar's Fund: 2007 Competition

Project Title: Vote Buying and Vote Compelling: Electoral Institutions and the Interaction of Violent and Non-Violent Electoral Manipulation

Faculty Sponsor and PI: Allen Hicken

Ph.D. Student: Megan Reif

Project Description

Professor Hicken's research interests and past work in vote buying, electoral corruption, and electoral institutions,1 and Ms. Reif's interest in the relationship between electoral rules and the timing, locations, perpetrators, targets, and types of coercion used by competitors to influence electoral outcomes intersect in their exploration of the dynamic relationship between nonviolent electoral fraud and the use of violence to manipulate elections. Existing theoretical work and empirical data have not addressed why political actors choose different types of violent and non-violent tactics to manipulate electoral outcomes. Hicken and Reif anticipate using the data produced by the project to help answer several questions: Do fraud and violence occur simultaneously? Are vote-buying and violence interchangeable tactics that share a single explanation, or is the relationship a more complex one in which nonviolent fraud and electoral violence are substitute means of altering electoral outcomes that change with parties' access to resources and electoral rules?

Both Hicken and Reif combine analysis of sub-national and cross-national statistical data with in-depth knowledge of and fieldwork in specific countries and regions, which often requires the use of research teams to maintain large-N data collection during fieldwork. In order to continue the data-collection effort that Reif began in fall 2005 with RAs from the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), we seek support for one of the project's current undergraduate RAs to continue coding and entering data during the summer, as well as a support for a second graduate student to code and supervise while Reif conducts fieldwork around upcoming urban local elections in Algeria and continues French and Arabic language study. Reif is currently working with second-year PhD student Brooklyn Walker, who shares a regional interest in the Middle East and offers experience in working on a large data project under Ashutosh Varshney, to assist in project management as Reif prepares to leave for Algeria in early- to mid-April. Valenta Kabo also has expressed interest in the possibility of working on the project. Professor Hicken manages several teams of RAs and will provide some mentoring and supervision in Ann Arbor to complement Reif's contribution to and management of the data collection from abroad via her CTOOLS research site.

The datasets, both in their partial and completed forms, will lay the groundwork for collaborative work in the short- and long-term future. A dataset of all election dates (day, month, year) and dates of major constitutional and electoral system changes since male suffrage for all countries in the world have been completed, and a database of current provisions on electoral disputes on election crimes for all countries in the world (data collection form attached), developed with input from the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and Craig Donsanto, head of the electoral crimes division at the U.S. Department of Justice, will be completed by mid-April. A daily events dataset for incidents of election coercion is currently in the pilot-testing phase (instrument attached). During Summer 2007, daily events will be collected for a sample of countries selected using the first two datasets and also including fieldwork case study sites - Newark, NJ; Algeria, Pakistan, and Egypt. In addition, an annual indicator of levels of election violence (number of injuries and deaths in election violence) and fraud for all elections in the world since 1945 will be developed. Hicken and Reif will work collaboratively to develop measurement indicators of nonviolent fraud and corruption to combine with the data on electoral violence to enable analysis that distinguishes between the two broad forms of electoral manipulation.