NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

He Who Counts Elects: Determinants of Fraud in the 1922 Colombian Presidential Election

Isaías N. Chaves, Leopoldo Fergusson, James A. Robinson

NBER Working Paper No. 15127
Issued in July 2009
NBER Program(s):   POL

This paper constructs measures of the extent of ballot stuffing (fraudulent votes) and electoral coercion at the municipal level using data from Colombia's 1922 Presidential elections. Our main findings are that the presence of the state reduced the extent of ballot stuffing, but that of the clergy, which was closely imbricated in partisan politics, increased coercion. We also show that landed elites to some extent substituted for the absence of the state and managed to reduce the extent of fraud where they were strong. At the same time, in places which were completely out of the sphere of the state, and thus partisan politics, both ballot stuffing and coercion were relatively low. Thus the relationship between state presence and fraud is not monotonic.

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This paper was revised on December 26, 2012

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