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The Pseudo-Democrat's Dilemma

Why Election Monitoring Became an International Norm

Susan D. Hyde

Publication Year: 2011

Why did election monitoring become an international norm? Why do pseudo-democrats-undemocratic leaders who present themselves as democratic-invite international observers, even when they are likely to be caught manipulating elections? Is election observation an effective tool of democracy promotion, or is it simply a way to legitimize electoral autocracies? In The Pseudo-Democrat's Dilemma, Susan D. Hyde explains international election monitoring with a new theory of international norm formation. Hyde argues that election observation was initiated by states seeking international support. International benefits tied to democracy give some governments an incentive to signal their commitment to democratization without having to give up power. Invitations to nonpartisan foreigners to monitor elections, and avoiding their criticism, became a widely recognized and imitated signal of a government's purported commitment to democratic elections.

Hyde draws on cross-national data on the global spread of election observation between 1960 and 2006, detailed descriptions of the characteristics of countries that do and do not invite observers, and evidence of three ways that election monitoring is costly to pseudo-democrats: micro-level experimental tests from elections in Armenia and Indonesia showing that observers can deter election-day fraud and otherwise improve the quality of elections; illustrative cases demonstrating that international benefits are contingent on democracy in countries like Haiti, Peru, Togo, and Zimbabwe; and qualitative evidence documenting the escalating game of strategic manipulation among pseudo-democrats, international monitors, and pro-democracy forces.

Published by: Cornell University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

Figures and Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xvi

...Although I did not know it at the time, this book began its life in the fall of 2001 as my fi rst research paper in graduate school. As a result, nearly everyone with whom I have come in professional contact has helped me write this book, and my debts are immense. I have been fortunate to receive numerous sources of institutional support during the research, writing, and rewriting. My research has been made...

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pp. 1-27

...In October of 1958, the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista was one of the fi rst leaders to seek international observation of his country’s elections. Facing declining U.S. support of his regime, pressure from the United States to hold elections, and a growing threat from Fidel Castro’s revolutionary forces, Batista scheduled elections, announced he would not run again, and attempted to invite international...

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1. Signaling Democracy and the Norm of Internationally Observed Elections

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pp. 28-55

...Since the end of the Cold War, international election observation has attracted signifi cant attention from policymakers and practitioners of foreign aid, democracy promotion, and postconfl ict political development as a useful and widely accepted tool to help facilitate democratic elections. For scholars of international relations and comparative politics, especially those interested in the consequences of international pressure on government behavior, election observation also represents...

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2. Sovereign Leaders and the Decision to Invite Observers

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pp. 56-88

...Four years earlier, the democratizing government of Costa Rica and the threatened Cuban dictatorship each attempted to invite international observers, foreshadowing the trajectory of international observation in which both true and pseudo-democrats invite foreign election monitors. These invitations were issued amid heated debates within the Americas about the relationship between...

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3. Democracy-Contingent Benefits

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pp. 89-125

...As of January 2005, Ethiopia received nearly a third of its total budget from the United States and European Union member states. It was one of the leading aid recipients in Africa, and prior to parliamentary elections in 2005, the country was considered a darling of the donor community on the African continent, setting an example of relative stability, economic growth, and political liberalization. Although he had refused...

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4. Does Election Monitoring Matter?

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pp. 126-157

...Are international election monitors more costly to pseudo-democrats than to true democrats? In this chapter, I continue investigating the consequences of internationally monitored elections as they relate to norm formation and show that the presence of international observers correlates with several types of costs to incumbent leaders. I also use experimental evidence involving the randomization of short-term election observers to demonstrate that international observers...

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5. The Quality of Monitoring and Strategic Manipulation

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pp. 158-184

...The norm of election monitoring is that governments committed to democratic elections invite international monitors. The corresponding belief is that noninviting states must be electoral autocracies, unless the country has otherwise established a reputation as a consolidated democracy. Because of the belief that all true democrats invite observers, and because there are consequences to being caught manipulating the election by international observers, my theory...

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Conclusion: Constrained Leaders and Changing International Expectations

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pp. 185-210

...Prior to the 2006 Belarusian election, President Aleksander Lukashenko invited observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the National Democratic Institute, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Reportedly a popular incumbent, Lukashenko nevertheless engaged in many...


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pp. 211-215


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pp. 216-224


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pp. 225-238


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pp. 236-246

E-ISBN-13: 9780801460777
Print-ISBN-13: 9780801449666

Page Count: 248
Publication Year: 2011

Edition: 1