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Author: Antonis Adam

This article examines whether there is an increase in repression in the election year in electoral autocracies. First, we build a simple theoretical model of an electoral autocracy. We assume that autocratic rulers want to maximise the expected rents from office. As a higher vote share in the election is translated into a higher probability of remaining in power, they use repression to exclude those opposing the ruler from the electoral body. Then, in the empirical section, we use a data set of autocracies to examine the existence of an electoral cycle in repression. We use a dynamic inverse probability weighting regression adjustment model, which models the dynamics of elections on the respect of human rights and considers that elections are non-random events. All results, and several robustness tests, indicate a strong presence of an electoral cycle in repression consistent with our theoretical model and priors. Additionally, we find that when it comes to autocracies, this cyclical increase in repression is more pronounced than the pre-electoral increase in government spending.

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