Johannes Bubeck, Nikolay Marinov
Process or Candidate? The International Community and the Demand for Electoral Integrity

American Political Science Review, 2017: 111, issue 3, pp. 535-554
ISSN: 0003-0554 (print); 1537-5943 (online)

Why do outside powers intervene in other countries' elections? We distinguish between two types of electoral interventions: interventions in favor of the democratic process and interventions in favor of particular candidates and parties. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, outside powers often simultaneously pursue interventions of both types. Using a formal model of elections with bias, we argue that outside powers will always invest some resources in particular candidates, if they care about the differences in their proposed policies. Spending on the electoral process is driven by liberalism concerns and geo-political interests. In some cases, liberal powers might decrease their amount of support for the electoral process if this engagement works against their favored candidate. We also consider the case of "election wars." These occur when two outside powers simultaneously intervene on different sides of an election. Some of the observable implications of the model are briefly demonstrated using a new and original dataset.