Coordinating the machine: subnational political context and the effectiveness of machine politics

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Abstract

Political machines use state resources to win elections in many developing democracies and electoral autocracies. Recent research has noted that the coordination of machine politics can be much more complex and problem-prone than previously thought. Yet, the role that the subnational political context plays in solving these coordination problems has largely been neglected in the comparative literature. This article seeks to fill this gap and suggests that control over the local administration is an important variable that shapes the effectiveness of authoritarian machine politics. We exploit the great institutional and political variation within one of the most prominent electoral authoritarian regimes of today, the Russian Federation, to test the empirical implications of the theory with detailed local level electoral and socio-economic data as well as multilevel regression models. The empirical results highlight the importance of subnational political structures in supporting electoral authoritarian regimes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Politica
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Mar 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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